<---I probably say that a dozen times a week to a dozen different people, and the vast majority of the time it's to encourage someone to chill out. Truth is, there's not much in this life worth making a big deal out of, but we do it anyway. That car that cut me off on the way home was totally not a big deal until I made it a big deal with my verbal outburst. That email from a parent this evening was nothing until I chose to assume their tone and attitude. We do a great job of blowing things out of proportion don't we?
There is so much of our lives that we have no control over. The weather. The other driver. The poorly worded email we get at the end of a long day. We just don't have a lot of power over those things...but we do have some say in our response. Note, I said response and not reaction. A reaction is thoughtless while a response takes a certain level of reflection. How long does it take to move from reaction to response? Just one deep breath.
There's a reason we tell people who are in a stressful situation to take a deep breath. Besides the physical benefits of a deep breath, it also buys us a bit of time to think through our response. Was that driver intentionally being a jerk, or did they need to head to an emergency? Was that parent's tone one of arrogance, or fearful love for their kids? Taking a deep breath almost always allows us to give the benefit of the doubt and make the kind response. With that breath, you claim control over your flighty (often self-serving) emotions. Don't make it a big deal...just take a breath. Respond, don't react.