Actually, two things.

First, take a full breath in, followed by another smaller breath to fill your lungs a little bit more. Then, breath out slowly letting the exhale take about four seconds. Repeat a few times until you feel a change in context.

The other thing: notice how your vision is narrow and focused now. Stressful situations do that. Expand your vision by extending your arm in front of you drawing an oval which sides touch the periphery of your vision. Imagine yourself in the middle of this oval. Repeat a few times until you feel a change in perspective.

You can do both simultaneously.


Your brain changes your breath and your vision when it’s stressed. Breath is held and vision is narrowed. Amazingly, changing your breath and vision changes your brain’s state too1.

The next step is to decide what the next step is, but with a calm breath and wide vision. Re-focus without fear.

The Catch

When you’re under stress, this is going to be the last thing you’ll remember. To increase the chances of doing it, practice it daily when you’re not stressed.


Mindfulness and meditation won’t help prevent an accident or prevent it from being uploaded to social media, just as it won’t prevent old age, sickness, and death. What it can help with, though, is the suffering caused by it both before and after. The promise of the path is that, while you may still experience old age, sickness, and death, these need not additionally cause the suffering born of our reactions to these.

Anxiety also isn’t an enemy; in fact, I would go so far as to suggest becoming friends with it. Welcome it, become curious about how it is you know you’re anxious, what it feels like in the moment. I realize this may sound impossible or even counterproductive, but with practice, it becomes easier to understand when it’s there to tell you something useful and when it has overstayed its welcome. In the latter case, simply paying attention to it carefully, at the level of raw sensation, and not pushing back against it can do wonders. At least, with practice.

– From Waking Up forum.

  1. There’s research. Too lazy to link. Try it, it only takes a few minutes.