Focus On Your Breathing
Today’s tip is to breathe and focus on your breathing! I know that sounds crazy. I mean if you weren’t breathing right now, you wouldn’t be watching or reading this blog, right? But even though you’re breathing, you may not be breathing properly. Which means you may not be getting all of its amazing benefits from breathing properly. You know how when you feel panicked or really angry, and someone says, “Just take a deep breath”? Well, it actually works.
Deep breathing signals your parasympathetic nervous system to slow your heart rate down and release hormones that make you feel calm. That’s why you’ll see performers who are about to go on stage take a few deep breaths. Athletes do it, too. And a lot of us do it unconsciously. We’ll take a deep breath before a difficult meeting or a tricky phone call.
We’ll take a deep breath before trying to do something that’s challenging for us without even thinking about it. Just about all forms of meditation use deep breathing to relax the body and calm the mind. They often call it “belly breathing.” Belly breathing is the kind of breathing a baby does. If you watch a little kid at rest, you can see that their tummy rises when they inhale and drops when they exhale. They’re fully relaxed. As adults, many of us aren’t so relaxed when we breathe. Our breathing is shallow, not deep. Instead of the tummy inflating, our chests rise and fall as we breathe. That’s a clear sign that you’re not breathing deeply.
Some forms of meditation just suggest breathing into your belly and paying attention to your breath. Others are more specific and recommend 4-7-8 breathing which is: breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale for eight seconds and repeat. Because you’re counting the seconds, you naturally stay focused on your breath.
My best friend Raquel is the CEO of Spark Movement, she got me to realize how important breathing is through her Yoga work. In fact, she’s doing free online virtual classes and they are wonderful. You can go to www.RaquelOtis.com/Spark and get all the details on it. Doing the breathing work with her has helped me tremendously.
I just read about the type of breathing Navy SEALS are trained to do. Navy SEALS are in horribly stressful situations all the time. To survive in those situations, they need to remain calm and focused, right? So, they learn something called Box Breathing to help them stay calm and centered so they can deal with whatever they’re facing. It goes like this: Inhale for four seconds. Then hold the air in your lungs for four seconds. Next, exhale for four seconds. Then pause for another four seconds before inhaling again. You do this five times or more until you feel calm again. It’s so simple. You can find a bunch of breathing techniques online.
All of them are effective but you’ll probably find one you like better than others. It might take a while to get the hang of deep breathing. Just find a breathing pattern that works for you and make a point to practice it each night when you lie down to go to sleep at night. The more you do it, the more natural it will become. Then, the next time you have a big decision to make or you’re feeling stressed or anxious or angry, give your deep breathing a shot.
Within minutes, you’ll find that your mindset has totally rebooted. You’ll feel calmer and more relaxed. You’ll be able to meet whatever challenge you’re facing with a clear, centered mind. Deep breathing is something you can anywhere at any time. Just remember: Take a deep breath.
Focus On Your Breathing
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