People have bad days.  It happens.  Sometimes, you wake up in the morning and all in your world seems right.  Something happens, though, that seemingly should be the type of thing that rolls off your shoulder, but doesn't.  It becomes the catalyst that sends you mentally into a downward spiral that is tough to recover from.  I don't know if you've ever seen the movie, "Top Gun," but it's like that scene where Maverick loses control of his airplane and it goes into a stall that he cannot recover from.  In the movie, he was simply able to pull a cord and eject from the plane, landing safely in the ocean.  In real life, there is no ejection handle.  So, today, let's talk about what to do when you find yourself in one of those situations where the day gets away from you and you struggle to get it under control.

There is a breathing technique that you can use that I will do my best to describe in the next several lines that will help you identify the thing that is stressing you, clear your mind of the negative effect that it is having, and allow you to move forward with your day with clear eyes and a full heart.  Let's say that a person named J.J. goes to work and has an encounter with one of his aggravating co-workers.  J.J. sees this person almost every day and has an expectation for the kind of attitude emanating from the person, so he's expecting to just deal with him and move on.  However, on this particular day - maybe it's the weather, maybe it's something at home that has been eating him, or whatever - the co-worker deviates from the norm and acts in an unexpected way.  J.J. is slightly taken aback and it sends his/her day into a frenzy.  J.J. has such a bad energy from such a small incident.  You can apply this to any old thing that might happen during your day that rubs you the wrong way and throws you off your mental game.  J.J. just wants to scream and go home.

Here's what you can do in those situations.  Get the stressor fresh in your mind to the point that if you imagined reaching inside your mind with one of your hands, you'd be able to physically snatch the incident like an annoying fly buzzing around your food at a summer barbecue.  Take hold of that stressing thought in your mind and imagine throwing it into a processor (you can imagine that as any number of things - I like to think of the processor as a window that I can open and close).  Then, take a deep breath and blow out all that negative air (containing that stressing thought) into the processor (for me, opening the window and then shutting it as soon as I blow out the entire breath).  Repeat that until you feel like you've gotten rid of the stressful feeling. 

It's a very simple technique, but breathing tactics to reduce stress have been known to be very effective for a long time.  I find that they are most effective when you don't wait to use them.  If you encounter a stressful situation or event that lingers in your mind and keeps you from going on with your day in a productive manner, then you should execute the breath work almost immediately.  The longer you wait, then the more difficult it becomes to clear it out.  I learned this technique from a very intuitive professional that I hope to have as a guest speaker at the office in the near future.  It has been a valuable tool for me, but I can vouch for the fact that you have to clear that negative thought quickly or it will have a detrimental effect.  Dwelling on the negative can rapidly manifest itself into a whole new line of negative thinking, causing us to - like the pilot who lost control of his aircraft - spiral out of control with our thoughts. 

At the end of each of these newsletters, which I've been writing for an astonishing 3 years and counting, you may have noticed that I always close with the line "Thinking good things for you."  I hope that you will give this breathing exercise a try and, in doing so, I hope that it helps you think good things for yourself and others and to keep each of your days full of positive thoughts, while shedding the negative ones "into the processor" where they belong (because they don't serve you...or your purpose).

Thinking awesome things for you,

-Dr. Chad