“I’m sorry I yelled at you,” said Don, the new CFO. “I just get so frustrated when people can’t seem to understand the basics.”

Too late for the apology in most cases. The damage has been done: hurt feelings, angry responses, loss of trust. You can’t afford to yell at people–ever!

With the steady increase in stress we are all experiencing–and will continue to experience–having a surefire strategy to reduce extreme anxiety is vital to your career, your health and your well being.

Taking 3 deep breaths is a proven method even if it sounds new age or silly to some. It changes your body chemistry, helps get blood back to your brain that you lost when you got super anxious, and buys some time to think. Asking yourself questions is another way to get the blood flowing out of your extremities that are preparing to run or fight. But the best, simplest and safest way? Leaning on physiology we all share, regardless of rank, excuse yourself for a pit stop. Hard to imagine anyone stopping you from that one. That buys you the time to deep breathe, regroup and plan what you are going to do or say on your return.

Why is this so important? Because to lose it at work in front of others may permanently damage your career. Better that people think you have a tiny bladder if you leave the room abruptly when you feel the anger coming, than all the other conclusions people draw when you stay and lose it in public.

What ways do you use to de-stress?