Deep breaths. I’m not good at taking them, especially when it comes to stressful situations. I’m more of a take no breaths and freak out kind of person. Note to all – do not be that kind of person.

The good thing is that with every panic inducing event that occurs, both big and small, I am learning about the power of deep breaths. More specifically, I’m learning that the best thing to do, before all else, is to breathe deeply. If nothing else, it allows you to think clearly and not freak out.

The past couple of weeks have definitely shown me how deep breathing can help navigate less than ideal situations.

Situation number one was aboutlearning the lesson, and it presented itself in the form of a letter from the IRS. I had a weird feeling when I saw it in our mailbox, and I was right to feel that way because it stated that I owe $903. After skimming the eight page long letter, I panicked. Not good because I missed a few key details in doing so. Like the fact that this was from my 2011 filing and not 2012 and that the IRS had calculated things differently than they should have been.

I eventually called my mom and asked her to help me sort everything out. She did and after some tedious research and complicated math along with a couple of calls to our accountant, we came to the conclusion that I only owe $87.

If I had only taken a few deep breaths and not panicked right away, I would have saved myself a lot of stress and worry. Instead of reading the letter carefully and trying to understand the miscalculations, I started thinking about the $903 and how this could have happened.

In retrospect, I see that the calm approach would have served me better. If it wasn’t for my mom remaining calm and telling me that everything was going to be fine, I would have gone crazy trying to figure it all out. And not breathing in the process!

I think the Universe was testing me to see if a lesson had indeed been learned because on Sunday our air conditioner stopped working. We set it to 75 degrees, and instead of cooling down, the temperature rose to 80 degrees.

Getting the AC fixed was simple thanks to Andy and Robin’s repairman recommendation. The tricky part was that when Vishnu and I signed our lease agreement, we agreed to being responsible for up to $100 worth of repairs, with the landlord covering anything exceeding that. Well, that’s all fine and dandy when nothing is wrong, but when you actually have to hand over $100, everything changes.

This time, instead of freaking out, I took a few good deep breaths and thought about how to approach the situation. When I got to work, I searched my inbox for the lease agreement and read it over very carefully. Bingo! Lucky for us, the final page outlined that if a repair is needed and it is not due to the negligence of the tenant, the owner covers 100% of the cost! Music to our ears!

By not freaking out this time around and taking a moment to breathe and think, we saved $100 and a whole lot of stress. One hundred dollars for something that wasn’t our fault felt like we were throwing money out the window.

Lesson learned and lesson applied. Deep breaths are very important.

And this quote needs to be my life motto.
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Do you typically stay calm during stressful situations?  Or do you freak out like me?
How do you relax your mind so that you can think more clearly?

By Parita

10 thoughts on “Lesson Learned and Lesson Applied: The Power of Deep Breaths”
  1. pumkin 🙂 don’t worry i was like you few years back, may be little less but as long as you are aware of the facts and what is in your control at that moment vs. what needs more time to think it is always easy to figure it out in almost any type of unexpected negative situation.

    Just want to remind you of me getting stopped by a cop when i was going for the very fun extended vacation not too long ago, for some reason it did not bother me and i totally forgot about everything and enjoyed every moment of my precious time just as i intended to do so… I am sure you know what i am talking about here…love you a lot and miss you too!!!

    1. Thanks, momma! I definitely think this is one of those easier said than done sort of things, but I think as you keep trying to improve and get better with every situation, things can only go up!

      And I was very proud of you for not letting that one incident ruin your fun vacay! Good job!

    1. I am a work in progress too! Calm and rational are not words I would use to describe myself – but I’m trying and that counts for something!

  2. It sounds ridiculous to say, but learning how to breathe in stressful situations has been a lifesaver for me. It’s definitely a work in progress, and I still have to deal with anxiety attacks sometimes, but I’m able to catch myself a lot quicker and work on calming myself down. It’s amazing how big of a difference something as simple as breathing can make.

    1. I agree 100%. Situations unfold so differently when you take the time to breathe. Just that one act allows you to gather your thoughts and proceed with caution! Glad you’ve seen a difference too!

  3. I freak out with the littlest things too, it’s like a catalyst in my head that makes a paper cut turn into a medical emergency!

    PS: I think it is so adorable how your mother comments on your posts!

  4. I can so relate…I tend to think the worst case scenario with every little problem instead of putting things into perspective.

    Your mom is one smart lady!

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