Quite troublingly, it seems that younger people are getting burn-out fatigue faster than ever before.
So I thought I would share the Jedi Mind-Body-Trick I pull on myself when I feefl overwhelmed.
I just tell myself: “The only thing you have to do today is breathe.”
It’s true. Technically, everything else can wait. Breathing can not.
“Just breathe,” I tell myself, “and breathe well.”
We can forget how to breathe as we learn to sit in school desks.
We can forget how to breath as our work drives us into our heads.
We can forget how to breathe as we age, over time.
The good news?
Breathing Teacher #1: Your Toddler. Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing
When we’re born, we breathe deeply without much effort or thinking. Our diaphragm expands and contracts, pulling air into and out of the deepest parts of our lungs.
My favorite teacher offered the following observation, from her time studying Tai Chi and Qi Gong in Asia: our breathing gets shallower as we age. When our breathing gets so shallow that it crosses our heart, we die.
The key to living a long life, then, according to this idea, is to breathe as deeply and easily for as long as possible.
Breathing Teacher #2: Belisa Vranich, M.D. . Horizontal Breathing
As Vranich points out, sleep is connected to your your stress levels, your sleep, your immune system, your back, your digestion, your memory, your anxiety.
Focus, calm, and non-reactive awareness are a bonus too. And longevity:
“Ancient Yogis say that we come into this world with a certain number of breaths. We can take them quickly, and live a short lifespan. Or we can take them deeply, and slowly, and live a long lifespan.”
More on Yogic Breathing here.
Breathing Teacher #3 : Andrew Weil. M.D. 4–7–8 Breathing
Andrew Weil, pioneer of holistic and integrative medicine, once claimed that teaching proper breathing techniques might be the single most cost-effective way to improve health outcomes in America. In this video, he shares a very basic method of 4 seconds in breath, 7 seconds hold, 8 seconds exhale.
This connects to the “tactical breathing” the U.S. Military teaches: 4 seconds in, 4 seconds hold, 4 seconds out.
Breathing Teacher #4: Max Strom. Intentional Breathing.
Max Strom outlines why we should breathe better, and provides a nice set of breathing exercises — starting at 14.22.
Breathing Teacher #5: Yourself. Your Choice.
Your own experience may be the greatest teacher. “The proof is in the pudding,” as they say.
When I focus on my breathing, I am actually more productive. I am more at ease, and less overwhelmed.