Tag Archive: emergency procedures


After being deeply moved and impressed by Brenee Brown’s TED talks, I picked up her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. It is based on a lot of (qualitative!) research, it is warm, honest, and helpful – not in the cheesy self-help kind of way.

One of the findings Brenee writes about is this emergency procedure used by wholehearted people. You know those moments where, she explains, you have to dig deep to find an extra ounce of energy to push through the day/task/moment.

I think this procedure can be applied just as well to crisis moments. You know that feeling when you get an email and your heart sinks, then starts racing, then blood boils in fear and outrage. The first thing most of us do is to start typing furiously in an attempt to solve the problem quickly, to get rid of it. Luckily, many times we don’t actually send those emails! What if instead of tapping on the keyboard we were to DIG? That is, we would get…

Deliberate – by taking a moment to breathe, reflect, pray, etc.
Inspired – after step 1 above; and only then get:
Going and take action?

I get it. I dig it. But I can’t always remember it in that moment of crisis when I feel tired and flustered.

As the saying goes, the challenge is not to be mindful – it is to remember to be mindful. What tips do you have for remembering to be mindful in (mini) crisis situations?

Quick centering techniques

These emergency procedures should come in handy at the end of the semester. From tinybuddha.com:

1. Three-Count Breath.

One way to help the body relax and restore its basic functioning is to steady your breath. Start in this way: Inhale for three counts. Hold for three counts. Exhale for three counts. After a few rounds of that, attempt to prolong the counts so that your breathing can slow and return to normal. This process can be helpful in less than a minute.

2. Stop Sign Visualization.

Those negative, looping thoughts that are spiraling out of control in your mind? They don’t serve you. There’s no time to listen to them, anyway: You have very important things to do!

So, to move forward without letting your thoughts drag you down, try this: For each self-defeating thought that pops up (“I’ll never get it all done!” and so on), visualize a large, red stop sign in your mind and think, “Stop.”

Try to drop the rest of the thought. This takes practice, because those thoughts have a lot of “psychic inertia” and that’s why they need a “Stop Sign.” Use it liberally.

3. Mantra/Affirmation.

Used alone or in conjunction with the Stop Sign Visualization, a simple mantra can be an effective tool.

Consider a few affirming phrases to repeat during these moments. It should be something that rings true to you and can reassure you. For example, “I can manage,” “This will pass,” “There is no emergency,” or “It will all get done.” Experiment with the right mantra for yourself, and repeat it often.

4. “5-5-5”

This technique is often recommended for people in dissociative episodes, but is useful and applicable during times of everyday stress as well. The purpose is to generate an awareness of your sensory experience so that you can feel more grounded in your body.

It’s very simple. Name the things you are experiencing for each of the senses: Identify five things you can see, five things you can feel, five things you can hear, and five things you can smell. For taste, a sip of cold water is often enough to bring awareness to the body.

5. Core Rooting.

Take a moment to stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Visualize your body as a tree, with your torso representing the trunk and your feet representing the roots. Focus your attention on your core and scan down your legs until you reach your feet.

Notice the ground beneath your feet. Feel the strength of your body. You are not “scattered” anymore; you are right here.