Sometimes at home or at work we feel that everything is coming at us at once, especially as we try to manage the ever changing demands of this pandemic on all aspects of our lives. This can be distressing. When we feel emotional, we can feel overwhelmed and our thinking brain (the pre-frontal cortex) goes offline or becomes unresponsive – just like our computer does sometimes when we have too many programs and files open at once. This is why one of the most common pieces of advice given by the helpdesk it to reboot, and see if the problem persists.

We can use our mind’s reboot mechanism by telling ourselves to STOPP (Stop, Take a Breath, Observe, Pull Back for Perspective, Practice What Works) and breathe – a little slower, in through the nose, out through the mouth. In thinking about our breathing, we have shifted our focus of attention and the emotional thoughts fade a little into the background. In taking slower deeper breaths, we are calming our physical sensations of emotion. This reduces the emotion enough to allow our thinking brain to come back online, enabling us to make more rational responses.