Taking a Deep Breath During a Crisis is Like Doing a Magic Trick

Very recently, all of my websites went down.  As in completely off.  Zero access.  Nothing.  Nada. There is nothing worse than the feeling of getting ready to head right into a website to do some work and the dreaded “connecting” thingy is still loading at the bottom of your screen. At first you think it’s a glitch.

But then you take a look at all of your other sites and they are down too. Maybe it’s a network thing and you check out other sites on the web.  Nope, they’re up. So it’s not your internet connection. Slowly you start to realize something is up.

So I go into my server’s help center to chat with support.  I’m number 107 in the chat queue when I’m normally 1 or 2.  Yeah, it’s safe to say something is wrong. Turns out the whole Northeastern U.S. was down and they were working on it.

Did my sites come back?  Of course they did (after about 2 hours).  But that’s not the point.

What is the point?

This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to sites going down. In the 13 plus years I’ve been doing this my sites have gone down hundreds of times.  But you know what? EVERY single time it happens it freaks me out. Without fail, whenever a site of mine goes down I always think that this just might be “the end.”

I mean, I know how irrational I’m being but I can’t help it. But over the years I’ve begun to accept that I feel this way and I don’t run away from it anymore. And while I’m completely aware that I’m being irrational and am definitely still freaking out, that’s not the point.

The point is that I’ve learned how to cope with it.  One way is by creating a worst case scenario. Another great way to deal with it?  Taking a nice, long, deep breath. No matter what your job is, we have all been in periods of severe crisis.  But taking a breath works wonders.

1. It’s a pause

A pause is a tremendous break from a freak out session. As a parent, what’s the first thing I do when my child is having a tantrum? I tell them to take a deep breath.  Why?  Because it stops them right in their tracks. It’s no different for us adults too.  We need to take our own advice in times of crisis.  Take a nice, long breath.  Take two  Take three,  Take 100 if you need to.

2. It’s a change of focus

When your mind is going a thousand miles a minute and looping over and over, it’s extremely tough to break that cycle. Taking a long breath does exactly that. As I like to say, it trips the wires in your brain. Those wires are so used to freak out mode that they need to be rebooted.  A long breath is like turning the on/off switch.

3. It’s natural

You know what’s not natural?  Freaking out. You know why?  Because we don’t do it often and our bodies and minds don’t know how to naturally cope with it. The best way to remove unnatural things is by returning the body to its natural state. What’s the most natural thing your body does?  Breath. Return to the most basic, physical and mental exercise and it will move you slightly away from the panic.

Clinically proven

Look, I’m not a doctor. I cannot literally prove that breathing helps with panicking, but if you don’t believe this then honestly I think there’s something wrong with you. Seriously, just go online and do your research about the benefits of breathing.

There are other ways of dealing with a crisis

Clearly there are plenty of methods beyond breathing that can help you deal with a freak out session.  I’ll dig into these in more depth at a later time.

  • Get the hell out of there – seriously just get the fuck out of the office, house, wherever.
  • Make rules – you can only check on the problem once an hour, or once every two hours.  It’s easier said than done but try to make it a game.
  • Do ANYTHING else – it’s called re-focusing and I’ll do an entire article on it.  Basically change your activity and it’ll trip the wires in your brain (see above).

Remember, the point of taking a breath isn’t to simply eliminate yourself from freaking out.  It’s to cope with it until it passes.

How do you handle a crisis?

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