By Jennifer Ewen

It’s easy to get stressed in EMS - here’s a ten-second way to calm down.

Everyone gets stressed; it’s simply a fact of life. But working as an EMT means if you’re hit with a bad situation, you need to be able to cope and quickly get to work. So it’s especially important for anyone in EMS to be able to go from stressed and panicked to calm and thinking clearly in no time at all.

This is where one simple technique comes in: calm breathing. These are especially deep breaths that help connect your mind to the present moment and away from the panicked thoughts that are arising from fear, not reality. Once you can get yourself into the present moment and away from your negative thoughts, you can focus on what you need to do to get through the situation instead of worrying about the outcome.

So, whenever you’re faced with something that’s stressing you out, whether it’s an exam, an emergency situation, or something in your personal life, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath through your nose. Feel the air rush in and push it all the way down so your belly expands out. Let the air come back out through your mouth. Focus on all the sensations in your body - the air running down your throat, filling your lungs, and stretching out your abdomen. You may even feel your heart rate slow down a bit if it was racing from stress. Do these deep breaths at least three times. After each breath, give yourself a positive affirmation: I can do this. I know what I need to do. I am more than capable.

If you take time every day to do deep breaths and positive affirmations (whenever you think of doing it), you’ll teach your body that it will calm down after taking those breaths. So then you’ll start naturally taking calm breaths any time you’re in a stressful situation, and will find yourself much more able to cope and get through it successfully.