Ten Second Trick Puts the Calm Back in Leadership: How to Keep Calm and Lead On

As leaders we must deal not only with our own state of mind and ability to stay calm, but we often have to help others navigate their fears and upsets.

Executive takes a break to calm his nervous system.The cardinal rule is that we must first be able to calm ourselves. I’m going to show you a 10-second process we teach at Ryzio that will help you stay cool, calm and connected. Executives from many sectors are finding it extremely quick and valuable in helping them navigate anxiety and rocky terrain both at the office and in their personal lives.

Focusing on the heart

There is hard science behind this simple, seemingly magical process. The research emerges from the field of neuroscience and, in particular, the Heart Math Institute in Northern California. They discovered that simple awareness, focusing on the heart in a particular way, and taking a few deep breaths, actually changes the messages the brain gives the body.

Before you have that difficult conversation, before what promises to be a stressful meeting, try this 10-second process.  We find that this exercise can help turn everything around. Practicing it you will enrich your capacity to calm your nervous system, bring better health and create the future you want.

The three simple steps

  1. Awareness. Stop. Bring your attention to your heart. Place your hand there. This tells the brain, “Hey, something different is happening. Pay attention.” This is the first step to change your experience of the situation.
  2. Slow down. Feel the pressure of your hand on your heart. Take a few deep breaths and focus on a long exhale. This tells the brain, “Right now, I’m okay. I’m safe.”
  3. Experience. As you feel your hand on your heart and take those few slow breaths, you’re opening the door to what you do want. Now you have an opportunity to experience, to create a positive outcome. Imagine what that will look like, what it will be like, what you will feel like when you get the results you want. It often helps to begin with appreciation, gratitude, compassion, something you care about. Bring that image in and see if you can imagine what you will feel like when you get that results you want.

Sometimes creating an experience is the most complex part. Our Western culture focuses on thinking and discourages experience. Once you “get” the myriad ways you can do this, it will feel so good you will easily expand your capacity to call in and to experience what you want to create.

Why this 10-second process works

The Heart Math research shows that when we close our eyes, turn our attention inward, focus on the heart center, it shifts the chemistry in the body.

Breathing a bit slower, sends a second signal. The only time we breathe that way is when we know we’re safe, we don’t have to be vigilant.

The act of the touch draws our attention to the heart. Hold the pressure, bring awareness to that part of the body.

Bringing in an experience of what we want to create sends messages to the brain that you are open and ready to create the next positive steps.

This practice may seem a bit odd at first but give it a try. We have found that the more you use it the easier it becomes to produce not only a state of calm in your own body and life but it helps create the scenario you want.

Once you find this simple practice personally beneficial, you may want to do what many of our Ryzio execs do: begin your meetings with this practice. It helps bring everyone into a more calm state, ready to do what is needed.

With this it will become much easier keep calm and lead on!


You can see a one-minute version of Heart Math Quick Coherence Technique here:


Greg Braden’s new book Human by Design explains the process further, as does this article.



This article was written by Marti Glenn, Ph.D., Ryzio Clinical Director