Gel in and Breathe

The good news is that one of the best ways to reduce stress is also the easiest. And the fastest.  Restorative breathing has been studied extensively and shown to effectively lower your respiratory rate and cortisol levels, improve blood pressure, increase concentration and focus, and reduce anxiety and depression (Hopper et al., 2019).  It requires very little time, can be done anywhere by anyone, has no addictive properties or calories, and it works.  As often as you can, try to “gel in and breathe.”

How to do it.

1. Stand by the patient’s door

2. Reach for hand gel

3. Close your eyes

4. Take three deep breaths while gel is drying

5. Be attentive to your breath 

6. Allow the past encounters to be released

7. Enter the patient’s room with curiosity and attention

Four-Square Breath

The Four-Square Breath (or Box Breathing) is an even more focused practice—one that takes just 16 seconds—one that you can use to start a shift, begin a meeting—to get you all together closer to the green zone. 

It goes like this:

First start by exhaling completely, then

Breathe in slowly for 4 sec

Hold the breath for 4 sec

Breathe out slowly for 4 sec

Hold for 4 second

Its just a way of slowing down the breath, and allowing that to calm you both physiologically and emotionally.  Try it.  And try it with your teams. For more information and a video, click here.

If you'd like a 1-page, PDF version of this material, click here.