What's the one thing that we all have 24 hour access to, is free, we can use as much as we'd like and is a powerful natural way to help us find clarity, focus and be present? You guessed it... breath!
Many of us live our lives these days in a state of overstimulation from the connectedness of digital. It's a wonderful life- don't get me wrong. Our digital lives are productive, efficient and even fun. But for me, it can lead to overwhelm. Before I know it, I have 30 tabs open on my laptop because one article led to several others then triggers a new thought that leads deeper and deeper into my digital universe. It's all a great learning experience, but can be a time drain that easily puts us behind on the day to day ops that need attention.
I begin to feel like a hamster spinning circles on a wheel. The best way for me to stop the madness is to step away from my laptop and/or cell phone and take even just 3 long, slow deep breaths to clear my mind and refocus. Breath is truly a panacea for any sort of overwhelm; whether digital, parental, relationship, or a rough day at the office.
Breath is the most underutilized tool for success. I owe it gratitude and credit for taking me through the past 23 years of entrepreneurship with a level of patience, focus and creativity that I'd otherwise never be able to attain.
I was introduced to yoga in 1989 by a successful woman who seemed to have it all. When I asked what her secret was, she responded immediately saying, "Yoga." Period, end of sentence. I signed up for classes around the corner the next day. I was immediately hooked. I began taking classes every single day, sometimes twice a day.
I was much younger then, so I found myself focusing strictly on the physical part of the practice rather than really listening to the teachers' cues about breath. It wasn't until about 6 years later as I prepared to give birth that I actually understood the power of utilizing my breath to help me through the pain of childbirth. It was an Aha moment.
I'd like to help others benefit from the simple exercise of slow, deep breathing as a daily ritual. It's an incredibly powerful tool that's always accessible. As an entrepreneur and small business consultant, I'm familiar with the barrage of questions that can pop up during any given day. Decisions that entrepreneurs make all day long are the decisions that form our path to success...or failure.
Often, we make rash decisions because we have to solve several problems at once. But multi-tasking during problem solving can be toxic. It leads to decision making based on fear and impatience rather than clarity and focus. This can lead you to a place that wasn't your original goal, passion or dream. Have you ever found yourself in a situation that has you asking, "How did I get here?" The answer is usually...bad decisions.
So, if you tend to run through your day making decisions just to complete the process, stop! You can change your mindset at several key times during the day by adding even just 30 seconds of deep breath.
5 ways to incorporate breath into your daily routine to calm, energize & bring clarity:
1. Begin the day by sitting in a comfortable position and closing your eyes, turning inward and taking 3 long, slow deep breaths. Inhale as deeply as possible and exhale as deeply as possible. Clear out any stagnation from night time thoughts/worries.
2. Continue to breathe slowly and deeply for a minute or so, to start the day with a positive mindset. Inhale visualizing fresh, energizing oxygen and exhale visualizing extraneous thoughts and any negative self-talk. If you feel light headed, just take one long, deep breathe at a time and then regular breaths in between the longer ones.
3. As you breathe, visualize your goals for the day and even longterm. When you actually see yourself as the person your working toward being, your body begins to believe that's who you are, therefore you can act with a renewed sense of confidence and mindfulness throughout the day.
4. Before an important meeting or call, take 1 minute to breathe deep slowly and deeply and visualize a positive outcome.
5. Know that 3 slow, deep breaths are always available to you, it's like having an adult security blanket with you at all times.
If you haven't given 'breath' a chance as a serious (and natural) tool for changing your mood, clearing your mind and upping the ante on confidence, you are missing out on a game-changing technique that's always available, easily accessible, fast, efficient and free!
Go ahead, take a slow, long, deep breath and see if you don't immediately feel better, more focused, even creative. Oxygenate your life!