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Faith WoodIt’s been a tough week. I get it. And you’re caught up in a relentless loop of doomsday dwelling. Perhaps feeling that doom-and-gloom mindset has taken up permanent residency.

But what if someone told you you could control your thoughts (your brain) and put a stop to those negative thoughts that seem to be overwhelming you?

The good news is you can. All you need is some practise and a little bit of knowledge.

Brain science isn’t rocket science. It’s a skill that can be learned with time, practise and patience.

Ready to learn how to be calm under pressure?

Let’s go.

Understand fight or flight

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You can thank your elementary school teachers for beating this one into your head. If you need a little recap, ‘fight or flight’ describes how the body reacts in stressful situations. You either decide to flee the scene (flight) or take action (fight).

On a fundamental level, this explains why you react a certain way in order to survive.

However, fight or flight is irrelevant in a lot of scenarios in the modern world. Yet our brain senses danger when we experience things outside of what is ‘normal.’

For example, if you feel your body tensing up, that’s a byproduct of fight or flight. The next time you think you’re experiencing this, ask yourself: Is this really life or death? Or should I calm down and realize it will be okay?

Call out your emotions

Detaching from your emotions is prescribed by many meditation experts and leaders who have mastered the art of staying calm.

We’re humans, so we will inevitably experience the whole gamut of feelings. That being said, we can choose to observe them rather than attach to them.

That means when you feel a surge of anger, call it out. Say: That’s anger I’m experiencing because of XYZ. I know this will pass, but I acknowledge that my feelings are valid.

Be sure to validate your feelings rather than dismiss them. Your emotions are real, and it’s okay that you’re feeling them.


Sometimes, all you need to do is breathe. Connect to your breath. Count your breaths. Be grateful that you’re breathing.

There are many ways to experience the delight of breathing, so take some time to figure out which approach works best for you. The important thing is that you’re doing it.

As we mentioned with fight or flight, the body reacts to stress and adverse events. We may choke up, forget to breathe or breathe super heavily. All those things impact our mind, so try to instil a sense of calm in your body first.

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. For interview requests, click here.

The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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