A good friend gave me this advice the day before the most important exam in my career. What should I do? I asked. TDB, she replied. Take a deep breath. It’s the oldest wisdom, and it’s still around for a reason. Whether in studying or testing, some well-timed deep breathing will tip your nervous system into the parasympathetic zone, where your heart will slow down a little bit, and a calmer focus will find you. Exploit the physiologic machinery that we’ve developed over the millennia. It’s accessible to everyone, takes nearly no effort, and will only serve to bring you relaxation and clarity. If a deep breath is too nebulous for you, employ box breathing: inhale until the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, and hold again for a count of 4. Repeat until you are as calm as you wish to be.
Contributors: Brian Radvansky from Med School Tutors