Taking three deep, long breaths has been my go-to quickie mental health tool for 25+ years, ever since I started taking yoga. It's so darn simple yet immediately impactful. Recently, whenever people complain to me about ongoing issues, whether they're an entrepreneur, a girlfriend, a teenager or store clerk, my advice now is to offer up this little secret because it is truly a one size fits all solution. Taking just three deep breaths is a great starting point for getting in the right frame of mind to figure things out further.
Recently, I started my own little grass roots effort on social media using the hashtag #Just3Breaths. It's resonating and taking on a life of its own. I was just biking past a friend's house and he yelled out, "I just took my three deep breaths!" That was a complete surprise. I've gotten texts and FB messages all week from people (many whom I haven't heard from in years) letting me know that deep breaths are now an important part of their day.
Feeling the benefits of breath is experiential, it's hard to understand just by hearing or reading about it. It can also seem a bit abstract and esoteric to those outside the yoga/meditation world, since we breathe all day long anyway. But it's the deep, long breaths that change the game.
Once you begin to take three deep breaths, you become acutely aware of how shallow our regular breathing is all day long. Taking #Just3Breaths seems to be the gateway 'drug' to understanding the power of meditation and breath. I mean, we've all got enough time to take just three deep breaths. Nobody has to commit to buying a yoga mat or going to a groovy group meditation class. Type A people who would never dream of trying meditation really like the idea of #Just3Breaths because it's fast and effective. The truth is, like many drugs it leads to an addiction... thankfully a very healthy one!
The more you do three deep, slow breaths and oxygenate your body, the more you want to do it. It clears your mind and brings you into the present moment; a destination where many people rarely arrive; instead dwelling on the past or planning for the future. It can also both calm and energize, lifting your spirits in less than minute.
Breath is the new kale. It's a superfood that's free -- Sorry, Whole Foods. It's one simple ingredient that when ingested packs a powerful punch of goodness into our bodies. It's always accessible to everyone, anywhere at anytime.
If you've been looking for a way to clear your mind, release negative thoughts, add a quick boost of energy or clarity, give #Just3Breaths a try. You can add this to your routine easily and before you know it, it'll be a new habit or ritual.
- In bed when you wake up the morning
- During your morning trip to the bathroom or shower
- While making your morning coffee/tea
- When you get in the car, before turing on any noise at all (radio, phone, podcasts)
- Wherever you're waiting (grocery store, doctor office, coffee store)
- Before you eat lunch
- Before/After you exercise
- Before you go to an important meeting
- While you cook dinner
- On your commute home or running errands
- Whenever you feel tense, uncomfortable, nervous, outside of your comfort zone
- Before you go to sleep or in your evening bath
It never gets boring because you can add mudras (hand/finger positioning), mantras (positive words to silently repeat as you breathe), intentions/goals and there's myriad types of breathing methods (breath of fire, alternate nostril, lions breath). Just like kale, it's very versatile!
Give it a try right now because I've kept this article brief to leave time for #Just3Breaths. Make them long, deep breaths and then cross the kale off your grocery list. Breath is the new superfood that nourishes your body, mind and soul.