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Tough week ahead? Try Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi hearing relaxation technique

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, on Capitol Hill in Washington October 22, 2015.
Reuters/ Jonathan Ernst
Clinton stays cool.
  • Olivia Goldhill
By Olivia Goldhill

Science reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

If you’ve got a marathon week ahead, perhaps it’s time to take inspiration from Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic presidential nominee endured an 11-hour hearing last week that included questions about the Benghazi terrorist attacks and her emails, along with a heavy dose of partisan criticism and general squabbling. In short, it made your most stressful meetings look like high tea at the Ritz.

Yet Clinton emerged looking calm and competent. Her secret was recorded by NPR’s microphone as Clinton left the hearing room during a lunch break.

“I tried to meditate in the breaks,” she said.

As the hearing was still in its early stages at that point, NPR hypothesized that Clinton also was meditating during periods when Democrats were speaking at length about why the committee was a waste of time. And when Yahoo News later asked Clinton if yoga helped her through the testimony, she replied, “Yes. Yoga always helps.”

Most Yoga practices incorporate meditation, but the ancient Indian tradition also includes a form of meditation that can be practiced while sitting still, without doing any poses.

Wade Imre Morissette, author of Transformative Yoga: Five Keys to Unlocking Inner Bliss, told Best Health Mag that it works by “quieting a busy mind” and encouraging meditators to let go of distracting thoughts. They work to be in the moment, and might achieve this by focusing on their breathing or gazing at a simple object, such as a candle flame or black dot on a piece of paper.

“Meditating is not about achieving a blank mind,” said Morissette. “It’s more about resisting the temptation to react to the thoughts that do pop into your head.”

It might sound simple, but if meditating helped Clinton with her performance at the Benghazi hearing, it could give you a boost this week. No need to perfect your downward-facing-dog—just breathe deep.

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