Remember to Breathe

It’s April…Remember to Breathe.

“Where is your mind at right now? What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Focus on this… acknowledge this, and then… let it go. These thoughts and feelings are of no use to you now.”

Anyone who has taken a basic yoga class has heard this before. As I find myself facing difficult and frustrating situations with students, staff, physical plant, various bosses, personal relationships, etc. in the stress induced month of April, I embrace the above phrases.

This simple adage can help to achieve strong professionalism and emotional intelligence when dealing with challenging situations. Calling to mind the above statements (other statements that work well for you) can help to:

  • Draw focus to exactly what you are feeling and why
  • Focus on your emotional and mental reactions
  • Acknowledge and validate your feelings internally
  • Let go of the negativity surrounding the situation internally and externally
  • Move on

Tips for moving past a difficult situation:

  • Ask yourself if this will matter on your death bed. I know this seems a bit dramatic, but it adds perspective to the situation and helps to bring the bigger picture into view.
  • Take a moment after a difficult situation to do something completely unrelated. If it is a difficult meeting, take a walk around the building, or take the scenic route back to your office.
  • Read an article from a favorite magazine, newspaper, blog, or publication to take your mind off the incident and refocus your energy.
  • Keep a professional journal to discuss feelings, pent up emotions, how you handled the situation, and how you can do better next time.
  • Stop what you are doing, make an origami paper doll, write a thank you card, sincerely compliment someone on a recent accomplishment – do something positive for yourself or someone around you

Everyone has difficult situations and in the month of April in higher education, this can feel like the rule rather than the exception.. We are human and we have emotional reactions to things, but we owe it to ourselves and our profession to overcome the frustrations and move on to a more positive and less stressful situation and day

“Focus on your breath. Is it fast or slow? Is it deep or shallow? Is your inhale the same length as your exhale?”

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