How to calm down and concentrate
When we are nervous our breathing speeds up, which leads to hyperventilation of the lungs. This simulates a state of panic in our bodies, which reduces our ability to think rationally. By restoring normal breathing, you will restore inner calmness. Below is a simple method for restoring a normal breathing pattern:
– Slowly inhale through your nose on the count of 1 and 2
– Then slowly breath out through your mouth on the count of 3 and 4.
– Again slowly inhale through your nose on the count of 5 and 6.
– Finally breathe out through your mouth again on the count of 7 and 8.
– Then return to count 1 and 2 and repeat the sets of 8 until you are feeling calm.
Count in your head rather than aloud and make sure that you are not counting too fast. To control the speed of your counting you should count as “one and two”, “three and four” etc.
With each exhale you should feel your shoulders and neck relaxing and a pleasant warmth in your chest and arms. These are all signs of relaxation in your muscles. Keep doing this exercise until your thoughts become clear and you feel that you have your emotions under control.
b) Take your mind off the thoughts that make you nervous
The easiest way to take your mind of something is to start reading. You can read anything; books, magazines etc. The main purpose is to concentrate your attention on every word that you read. If you feel that your mind goes back to the thought that worries you, start reading from the beginning of the paragraph or sentence where you lost concentration. Read it again and again until your mind focuses only on what you are reading.
The “Here and now” exercise
If you don’t have a book or magazine, take a mental inventory of objects that surround you. Begin by saying the words “Here and now, I can see…” in your head. For example, “Here and now, I can see a woman who is looking out the window. She has dark hair, she is wearing glasses, a long blue coat and red shoes with a metal fastening…” This exercise also helps you to concentrate on the present rather than worry about the future.
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