How to Keep Your Cool

Kitchen Table CEOs Blog - Megan Hamilton - guest blogger - breathwork - mindfulness - how to keep your cool - entrpreneur mindset - megan hamilton posing for camera on side of road surrounded by trees

September 27, 2020

(When You’d Rather Hide Under the Table)

You know that feeling …

You’ve got to push yourself out into the spotlight a little in order to grow your business, and your body is fighting against you. Hard!

“Keep your cool!” you tell yourself.

You can feel the internal tension rising as you begin to experience the usual sensations:

  • an elevated heart rate;
  • sweating;
  • insomnia;
  • nausea;
  • a tight chest;
  • a sense of dread.

And that’s before you even make the pitch, have that initial client meeting or make that cold call.

If only you could keep yourself calm.

But instead of doing that ‘thing’ that you’re scared of, you do everything else to avoid it, like cleaning out that cupboard you’ve been dodging for 4 years. Or having the sudden urge to bake a loaf of bread. It doesn’t help that you can’t sleep at night as your brain tosses around every possible negative outcome.

Here’s the good news:

There is a relatively easy way to get past this internal drama, and actually, calm yourself down so that you can do the hard preparation or task that needs to get done.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and breathing.

But do you know why breathwork is so beneficial?

It’s because it’s the quickest and easiest way for you to let yourself know that you’re not in danger. Breathwork is the fastest way to tell your brain to stop spiking your bloodstream with adrenaline and cortisol, causing the anxiety and physical stress responses (that are making you feel so frantic).

Even better news: 

The more you practice mindfulness and breathwork, the quicker your body responds and allows you to stay calm, and focused, and on task for longer periods of time.

Taking it a step further: practicing controlled breathing before any difficult situation allows you to achieve a starting point that is much calmer and clear-headed which will, in turn, set you up to be more productive than you would be if you let your nervous responses take over. 

Examples of when YOU May Feel Terrified:

  • Cold calling a potential client. Even just reading the words ‘cold calling’ can cause some peoples’ chests to seize up.
  • Presenting at a conference. Public Speaking?! Are you kidding – no way!
  • Doing a series of live Instagram or Facebook videos. What if you make a mistake? It’s permanent!
  • Asking your bank for a business loan. What if they figure out that you don’t know what you’re doing?

All of these daunting tasks will help you succeed and grow, but they are tough. Really tough. But controlled breathing can help you in ALL of the above situations. 


One of the easiest exercises you can do is to breath in a rhythm.

For example: breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds and release for 10 seconds.

It’s the breathing out that stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and allows your body to relax and get out of your fight/flight/freeze stress response. I’ve created a helpful animated gif to count it out for you: CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.

Controlled Breathing is where it’s at!

Controlled breathing isn’t a panacea for everything, and in fact, nervous system experts like Irene Lyon suggest that it’s even more important to practice overall nervous system health, which will allow your responses, over time, to be more in alignment with your goals. However, as an easy and useful tool that will quickly allow you to stay calm and focused, controlled breathing is where it’s at! So get practicing.

When breathing is combined with tools such as:

  • Standing with strength,
  • Taking up space,
  • Speaking with authority,
  • Using your optimum pitch and
  • Mapping out your presentation ahead of time

… you’ll have everything you need to show up with confidence and continue to keep your business on an upwards path.

Good Luck!

Megan Hamilton coaches women on speaking, visibility and confidence. She’s a classically trained actor and professional musician with 5 recordings. Her speaking system of standing, breathing, speaking and reading is based on her theatrical training and 25+ years of performance. To learn more, including how to get her free public speaking guide, please visit her website: ubuskills.com

For further reading on controlled breathing, Megan recommends this link. https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2017/11/29/how-breathing-calms-your-brain-and-other-science-based-benefits-of-controlled-breathing/#203a6c9e2221

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