Simple 10-minute techniques to keep you calm in a crisis are revealed

Simple 10-minute techniques to keep you calm in a crisis are revealed

Never panic again! Experts reveal the simple mindfulness techniques that will calm you down in ANY stressful situation – including listening to the sound of your footsteps

  • British mind fitness experts Andy Barker and Beth Wood shared their techniques
  • Revealed how to employ mindfulness by being present and taking walks
  • Explained how to use goal-based visualisation to face intimidating challenges
  • Revealed stress response can trigger reactions such as the mind going blank 

Experts have revealed the three simple mindfulness techniques you can employ when faced with a stressful situation.

Mind fitness experts Andy Barker and Beth Wood, from Hertfordshire, who have trained the teams behind companies including Anne Summers, have explained the best ways to keep calm in a crisis.

Explaining the concept behind mindfulness, their method consists of being present in the moment, observing your surroundings and using goal-based visualisation.

Speaking to FEMAIL, they explained why a seemingly small event can sometimes trigger a breakdown, why are bodies react in this way and how to keep calm.

Mind fitness experts Andy Barker and Beth Wood, from Hertfordshire, who have trained the teams behind companies including Anne Summers, have explained the best ways to keep calm in a crisis (stock image used)

‘Life can feel like a constant stream of challenges. We lead busy lives and juggling the demands of work and home can lead us to a crisis point. Just one more thing will push us over the edge,’ they explained.

‘That feeling is your stress response triggering, sometimes referred to as fight or flight.


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‘It’s our involuntary reaction to perceived threat or danger that enables us, for example, to unconsciously leap out of the way of a speeding car. 

‘The problem is that our perceptions of threat in our frenetic lives become continuous. Our stress response is triggered frequently, diverting our conscious thought away from our higher thinking brain. 

‘So, at the very time we need to have clear thinking, we simply don’t. It’s why our minds can suddenly go blank when we stand up to give a presentation or answer questions at an interview.

‘The good news is that there are ways to calm your mind when this perceived crisis occurs.’

What is mindfulness? 

The first step to mindfulness is to ensure you are in the moment. When you begin to feel stressed, focus on a random object and study every single detail of it until you feel the stress hormones subsiding

‘Mindfulness is a form of meditation that has roots in ancient Buddhist practice. It’s now fully evidenced by neuroscience as being highly effective for calming the mind. 

‘It is the process of being in the present moment, allowing us to experience life more clearly and more fully. 

What is mindfulness? 

Mindfulness is a form of meditation which stems from ancient Buddhist practice.

It has been scientifically evidenced as being an effective technique to calm the mind.

The method works on helping you be in the present moment, by becoming more observant of everything around you. 

It helps you reframe negative thoughts into a positive mindset and face challenging situations with a calm, upbeat mindset. 

‘We tend to negatively rethink events from the past or project ahead to imagined disasters in the future, and forget to notice or appreciate fully the present moment. 

‘Mindfulness practice helps us to train our mind to be in the moment, keeping intrusive unhelpful thoughts at bay. That calms us so that we can rationally problem-solve as our higher thinking brain is once again engaged.’

How to employ mindfulness 

1. Be in the now (Notice; Observe; Wonder)

‘This quick mindfulness exercise is called NOW, standing for notice, observe, wonder. 

‘As you feel that unmistakable tightening of the stomach, look around you and notice an object to study. 

‘A clock on the wall perhaps. Now, really observe the clock. Pick out the detail. What colour is the face? What shape are the hands? Is there a second hand? 

‘At this point, Wonder at that object. Be curious. How is it made? What component parts make it work? Think about the complexity of its design. 

‘You’re now in the moment. You’ll soon start to feel calmer as the stress hormones subside. Congratulations, you’ve just completed your first mindfulness exercise.’

2. Practice mindful walking

Try going for a ‘mindfulness’ walk to help relieve stress. Rather than following your regular walk during which you will be less observant, choose a different route and be aware of your surroundings, taking in every detail of the surrounding sights, sounds and smells

‘You may walk regularly as a simple function of getting to work every day. More strenuous physical exercise is good for us of course, but walking can be as good for our mental health. 

‘If we do the same journey every day it’s likely that, as it’s repetitive, we don’t notice much about it. We pop the headphones in and off we go. When was the last time you were aware of your surroundings? The sights, the sounds, the smells?

‘Mindful walking is a great way of mentally preparing for a challenging day ahead.

‘Set off on your walk and be aware of your feet making contact with the ground. Is the surface hard or soft? What sound do your steps make? Is your pace slow? Now become aware of your breathing. Is it steady? Are your breaths deep or shallow?

‘Look around you. What detail do you see? The buildings. The trees. Their shapes. If other thoughts come into your head, then acknowledge them and return to focused observing. A functional walk becomes a restorative event.’

3. Try goal-based visualisation

If you are facing an intimidating situation,  imagine it in a positive light. Visualise yourself in a welcoming environment and beginning the scenario positively, before picturing the best possible outcome and repeating the process in your mind

‘We all experience moments in our lives when we face situations that threaten to take us beyond our natural comfort zone. 

Mind fitness experts Andy Barker and Beth Wood shared their top mindfulness tips

‘Change can seem highly threatening and the requirement to do something previously untried can create a sense of crisis. At work a presentation can, we know, provoke extreme anxiety. 

‘It’s the point at which the ‘Automatic Negative Thoughts’; the ANTs take over. We self-sabotage, imagining disasters where we forget our lines whilst the audience  mocks us mercilessly as we slink away in shame.

‘Goal-based visualisation is an effective form of creative thinking that works because the brain does not distinguish between real or imagined experience. 

‘It involves complete focus, completely repelling the ANTs and is used widely, notably by athletes to mentally prepare for the big event.’

How it works 

‘Imagine that you’ve been asked to give a speech at a wedding and the prospect fills you with panic and fear. 

‘A few days before, start to visualise the process of giving the speech in your mind. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Step through the visualisation in three parts.’

How to use goal-based visualisation to tackle stress in 3 simple steps 

1. Take the situation you are facing and imagine a welcoming environment

2. Visualise you beginning the scenario positively and feeling confident

3. Conclude by picturing the best possible outcome and repeat the process in your mind

Part 1

‘Imagine being announced and hearing supportive applause and cheers from the friendly audience. You walk up calmly and take your place at the microphone as the applause settles.’

Part 2

‘You begin your speech confidently and calmly and the audience responds warmly to your jokes and comments. You know that you’ve won them over and your confidence increases steadily.’

Part 3

‘You’re getting to the end now and you have them in the palm of your hand. You propose the toast and the audience cheers and applauds you loudly as you make your way back to your seat. 

‘Now connect all three moments together and run it again in detail. It’s great preparation for the big day. You’ll feel more confident and turn what could have felt like a crisis into a personal triumph.’

Unlock You by Andy Barker and Beth Wood is out now, published by Pearson, priced £12.99. To find out more go to pearsoned.co.uk/bookshop  

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