If you're a woman and/or a person of color you know what it's like to be tried on a seemingly daily basis. Micro and macroagressions are a huge part of your everyday life. If it's not someone catcalling you on your way to work, it's a colleague sending you a passive aggressive email, or a retail worker following you around the store, or a man mansplaining some shit you already know. There was a moment in time where I always found myself getting worked up, stringing together choice words the only way a southern girl could, because I thought it was the only way to defend myself in instances where I felt powerless.
But with time comes growth and perspective. Now I find myself taking these deep inhales and slowly letting them out to first control my breathing and heart rate. Pausing in a moment to control my breath helps me to control the rest of me, from the inside out. Sometimes I have to do this breathing exercise more than once, depending on how severe the offense is. Next, I give myself time to respond; if the situation even calls for a response. I take as long as I need to, which could be a day or a week, so that I can stick to the facts of why I'm offended. My reason in waiting to address the situation is to give my emotions time to simmer, even if I have every right to be in my feelings. I'm a woman and I'm black, and one of the quickest ways people try to dismiss my experience is to say my response is emotional, aggressive, or crazy. And then, if I feel the situation warrants a response and is worth the energy it will require on my part to respond, I move forward recanting exactly what happened, how it led me to feel/think the way I did, and how I would like to be treated in similar instances moving forward.
This is so not for the other person, but for me. It's so that I can maintain my peace (because my reeeeeally good clapbacks used to exhaust me), and so that my response is less likely to be used as a reason for someone else to sabotage my safety and/or opportunity. In the words of Beyoncé, "Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper." And this should go without saying but if you do incorporate this practice into your life, discretion should obviously always be used to determine the best way to handle any less than ideal situation. There will be times where breathing and counting just won't get the job done; and in those times, do what you gotta do, sis!