Smashing Stress in Five Minutes (well…maybe seven)

Steven Barnes
2 min readFeb 7, 2024

A student wrote:

“Thought you would find this anecdote interesting. I’ve been trying the one minute of breathing on and off for over a year. It’s not helped much. But Just Now, I set my timer to 1min 30 seconds because I was trying to build in extra time in case of interruption. I’m guessing because of my (medical condition) that 1min isn’t enough. Somewhere between 1min 15 and 1min 25 seconds my whole body un-clenched and relaxed. I’m going to assume that’s the effect you’ve been talking about, take time multiple times a day to do a hard reset of the stress level. So no, I’m not doing a minute going forward, I’ll be doing a minute 30 seconds.”

This is WONDERFUL. The student took control, had faith in the process, noticed their results, INCREASED the amount of time instead of quitting (!) and understood a MAJOR aspect of the process, the “hard reset of the stress level”. I couldn’t be prouder.

I would want them to let this sink in, and while breathing focus on the MAGIC formula. What Map of action are you following? What actions are you taking? Are you focusing on GRATITUDE? Do you have a clear Intention/S.M.A.R.T. Goal? And will these actions bring you closer to being your truest self, reveal your Character?

Rotating through these thoughts takes seconds, seconds you have earned by taking a physiological “interrupt” break. By anchoring yourself into your body you are differentiating between subjective and objective reality. (Subjective reality= “everything is falling apart!” Objective reality= “I have time to breathe calmly. I can live in the eye of the storm.”)

In the FIREDANCE system, this is the first major step. After this, expand the 1st breath into a 10–20 minute “Morning Ritual” and you have taken a critical step toward real power in your life.

Again to my student, CONGRATULATIONS!



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Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts.