Your heart is racing. Your palms are sweating. You’re feeling anxious and there’s a looming (and perhaps completely unwarranted) sense of dread tightening your stomach. The worst part? You’re not sure how to reel yourself in. But guess what? You’re only a few breaths away from feeling large-and-in-charge. (Or at least, from feeling more like yourself.)

Try this breathing technique:

1. Inhale as you count to five, taking the full five seconds to breathe in.
2. Hold that breath for a count of seven.
3. Breathe out for a full count of nine.
4. Repeat.

Do this a few times, and we can almost guarantee you’ll feel more calm and confident. It works because the long exhale sends a signal to your sympathetic nervous system to turn down the arousal level. Additionally, it signals your parasympathetic nervous system to release GABA—a neurotransmitter that stops nerve cells from rapid-firing. If you follow this pattern for several minutes, as part of a breathing meditation, it can boost your mood all day!

When we exist in a constant state of low-grade stress, which many of us do, our breathing becomes chronically shallow—a phenomena known as under-breathing. This means we’re going through our lives with slight oxygen deprivation at all times. In addition to depleting energy, this can lead to a build-up of carbon dioxide in our bodies, which in turn can lead to increased inflammation and disease.

By inhaling slowly and consciously, for a full five counts, you’re forcing yourself to take in more oxygen. By holding that breath, you’re allowing the oxygen to seep into your bloodstream and circulate throughout your body, nourishing your cells. And your extended exhale ensures that you fully clear your lungs of carbon dioxide.

Yoga is more long-term way that you can encourage the release of GABA for a sense of calm and confidence, and supplements such as valerian root and magnesium boost the effects of GABA. But when you’re panicking RIGHT NOW, in THIS moment, there’s nothing like this 5-7-9 breathing technique for a quick fix.