An Essential Key to Staying Calm During a Crisis

June 20, 2013
two hands grasped together

In our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program, we teach the concept of Rational Detachment. When you’re rationally detached during a stressful situation, you’re in control of your own behavior and you don’t take challenging behavior personally. This may sound easier said than done, but it’s important to keep in mind that while you can’t control someone else’s behavior, you can control your own response to that person’s behavior.

When you’re under pressure, it’s natural for your heart to beat fast and your breathing to be shallow. One way to stay calm, get a hold of yourself, and maintain Rational Detachment is to simply take a deep breath. Slow, deep breaths increase the supply of oxygen to your brain and help you think more clearly. While it can be difficult to remember to take a deep breath in the heat of the moment, if you practice deep breathing regularly, a calming breath response can become automatic.

To take a deep breath, inhale through your nose, allowing your breath to expand your belly. As you exhale, release stress. Notice that while shallow breathing can make you feel tense, deep breathing can help you relax.

Learn more about the importance of breath in Breathing Out: A Great Way to Let All That Emotion Go.

Read more about maintaining control of your own behavior in Don’t Take It Personally.

How do you stay calm under stress? What do you do to make sure that you have a positive effect on a situation? Please share in the comments!

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