Deep breaths are vagal stimulators.
They’re one of a set of actions called “pacifying behaviors”—things you do to make you feel less stressful.
In business situations, like when you’re dealing with your supervisor or administrator, they are seen as signs of anxiety, uncertainty, and weakness.
A well-trained counterparty is trained to look for them and adjust their behavior accordingly. They will demand more, be more assertive, accept less—all because you took a deep breath in front of them.
It’s business and management 101 when dealing with clinicians. No matter what someone else tells you, you can be certain it’s being looked for—just like hooking your feet behind your chair legs and touching your face.
Have a challenging meeting with your boss? By all means, take a deep breath before walking in.
But don’t do it in front of her.
If you do, your meeting might get more challenging than you thought.