I have stated before, as a professional, that sometimes people need help that isn't. So it should come as no surprise to you that one of my very favorite therapeutic techniques is not something I learned in school, but rather something my mom taught me when I was just a wee tot.
And that, my friends, is to take a deep breath.
Often I will sit with a client who is upset and I will stop the proverbial presses until they agree take deep breaths with me. They'll refuse, or say they can't, and much like my mother did with me when I would fall into hysterics on the reg, I wait. I take deep breaths and wait for them to join me. And before we know it, like magic, they're breathing. It always works. For the moment at least, panic has passed, all thanks to a simple deep breath. It's very effective. I highly recommend it.
I know it's effectiveness from experience because when I stress, I don't breathe. Literally. It's as if I believe things are so fragile that even the tiniest gust from within me could bring it all crashing down. If I can just hold it in another second, I think, I will still be in control. In my scariest and most fragile moments I will often find myself physically struggling for air. Trying desperately, pitifully to remain in control; and unsure of the last time I allowed myself a breath.
Because sometimes? Sometimes it's all you can do. Take a deep breath. Then take another.