Back in the 1990s, I was living outside Seattle, working at an internet startup during the first internet boom (the web 1.0 days). Oftentimes users would call to complain their system wasn’t working. Our response? Reset your computer. Even twenty years later a reset still fixes tech issues most of the time. It’s like the old line from Tara Brach, “everything works better once you’ve unplugged it for a while.”
So how do we reset ourselves and our dysregulated nervous systems when we’re emotionally overwhelmed? When I’m talking to kids or teens, I often use this reset button metaphor as well. And where is the human reset button? It’s hidden at the bottom of our lungs, so we have to breathe deeply and slowly enough to press it and restart our nervous systems.The Breath is Your Superpower
You can probably tell when you, or the people around you, are dysregulated emotionally just by listening to the rate and rhythm of the breath. Slow and steady breaths mean a focused brain, regulated body, and active social engagement system. Short, shallow, choppy breaths often mean fight-or-flight response, stress, or emotional flooding.
If you can regulate your…