3 ways to use breathing to change your energy, alertness, emotional state.
Our breath is like a switch.
By using our breath in just a few simple ways we can change our current state from sleepy to energized, from anxious to calm and confident, from jittery to balanced, from racing thoughts to peace of mind.
One day, it’ll be taught at school as a part of Brain’s User Manual.
We are in so much more control of our energy, feelings and mental states than we ever thought possible. And I think it’s just the beginning. Don’t wait to feel better - make yourself feel better now.
1. FROM ANXIETY TO CALM CONFIDENCE
This breathing is good anytime when we need to calm down before an important conversation, sales call, presentation or public talk. Or when you need to fall asleep, to stop your never-ending thoughts from racing, to stop never-ending what-ifs and worries.
It helps to sleep better, to stay calmer no matter how heated things get, to reduce anxiety and get calm and confident, knowing that it’ll all be ok.
It’s exhale-focused breathing. Exhales are twice as long or longer as inhales. I demonstrate it HERE.
You can simply count: inhale 4, exhale 8.
Repeat at least 3 times. 6 is better. Even 1 works - I do that during crucial conversations.
Before sleep, I do it for 5 minutes.
After workouts I do it for 5 minutes - it helps to recover faster.
I do it before eating as well to turn on rest-and-digest mode and switch off the working mode for the lunch break.
2. FROM SLEEPY BOREDOM TO MOTIVATED EXCITEMENT
This one is the exact opposite.
It’s the one to turn your senses up, to get all your systems ready to go, to get you to the edge. It might even cause anxiety in some situations - so don’t do it if you are already anxious or overstimulated.
I do it in the morning to wake up when it’s still dark outside to get myself ready for workouts or work.
I also do it in the afternoon before getting back to work.
Sometimes I do it before clients’ meetings if I need to drive, to move, to energize and I’m not quite there myself.
Sometimes I need a bit of a push to approach an important client - I use this breathing and it gives me the edge, the boldness, the kick in the butt I need.
It’s inhale-focused breathing. Focus on making inhales powerful and long and exhales short and automatic. I demonstrate it HERE.
25-30 fast breaths. Breathe out and hold for a minute, or as long as you can. Breathe in and hold for about 15 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
Don’t do it before sleep, before eating or when already over-excited or anxious.
3. FROM JITTERS TO BALANCE AND FOCUS
And sometimes your energy is kind of either too up or too down, all over the place, just not right for focused, deep work, writing, creative process. You want to balance it out. It also helps with flow states.
It's called box breathing. It's balancing breathing. It’s very simple.
Breathe in for 4. Hold for 4 counts. Breathe out for 4. Hold for 4 counts.
Repeat 3 times or more.
I don’t use this one often, maybe I should. Usually, the first 2 do the job.
Which one do you do more often? Or need to do more often?
The power is in using these breathing techniques in the moments of life, not when meditating, outside of your daily living.