I was at a week-long leadership workshop last year, and during the sessions we frequently noted what we were observing with the other participants. During one challenging exercise I said to the woman “I’ve noticed you have stopped breathing.” This is so common when we get anxious, angry, or stressed - and of course all it accomplishes is shutting down your ability to be calm, observational, curious, and creative in identifying choices.
The most poignant moment was at the end of the week when we were making requests of each other, and she asked if I would help her learn how to breathe again. She was so often in a state of anxiety that her body had literally forgotten how to breathe deeply into her belly. She was sort of in a perpetual “fight or flight” state - which of course just breeds more stress in a negative feedback loop.
Take one minute now - trust me you actually have time for this. Close your eyes and focus on the quality of your breath. It is mostly in your chest? Shallow? Fast? Are you holding it? Practice 5 breaths - 5 long counts in, 8 longer counts out. Fully fill up your belly before your chest and exhale in reverse.
This is the simplest, fastest, cheapest way to get clear and come from a place of calm and choice rather than just reacting.