POWER PLAY #24
Breathe Your Tension Away
When the average person gets up to speak, a few things happen. His heart starts beating faster, his blood pressure rises, and he begins breathing more rapidly. What are these characteristics indicating? They are signs that the mind and body are sensing imminent danger and have switched into “fight or flight” mode. If this presenter proceeds to do the presentation while he is in “fight or flight” mode, how will it impact his performance? Obviously, it will inhibit him. It will be virtually impossible for him to perform at his best.
“Fight or flight” mode is great when you are responding to a real physical threat, like a tiger attacking you, but it can be disastrous when you are giving a presentation. This section is filled with numerous tips to prevent or get you out of “fight or flight” mode. One of the simplest is to take a clearing breath. When done right, a clearing breath can ease the mind, increase confidence, and lower the heart rate and blood pressure.
There are many ways to do a clearing breath, but I recommend using the “6-2-7” method. In the “6-2-7” method, you inhale through your nose for 6 seconds, hold the breath for 2 seconds, and then exhale through the nose or mouth for 7 seconds. One of the keys to an effective clearing breath is that the out-breath must be longer than the in-breath. A longer out-breath sends a signal to the brain that everything is ok and it can relax.
Take a minute to do four “6-2-7” clearing breaths right now and notice the impact it has on you. It’s a simple tool to calm your nerves and leave you feeling ready for every presentation.