a thought from the blog
Five minute deep breathing exercise to re-energize and focus
Today, most people are breathing with the top of the lungs, not using their full capacity, which makes us constantly short of breath, this can result in us becoming more stressed, unfocused and low in energy.
Contrary, the people who actually take deep breaths using the lungs full capacity are the smokers…
I am not in a position to point fingers, many times I find myself sitting in front of the computer on an intense day slightly dizzy from lack oxygen. I either breathing short and intensely like an excited dog or when focused sometimes I almost holding my breathing.
This is when I do my 3-step deep breathing exercise, as I need a quick fix, cause there is no time to take a long break or change environment. It shouldn’t take more then five minutes:
1. Position yourself
Try to find somewhere not in front of a screen, preferably by a window, where you can sit comfortable. Sit with a straight back; relax your shoulders, position your hands comfortably, and relax your eyes by looking at the ground just in front of you (I usually look approximately between one and two meter in front of my feet).
2. Shift the mind to Neutral
Try to shake of everything on your mind (actually shake your head if necessary) and try to just be “aware” about your world. I try to envision my world around me as a 360% view, with important reference points such as project colleagues, my home, my girlfriend etc. whether they are within a 1km radius around me or in New Your (I live in Stockholm), just so I have my world envisioned with me in the center, but the trick is to just be aware without focusing on anything in particular, just acknowledge your thoughts, felling’s and what’s happening around you, incl noise, even if its annoying. You can also try to see yourself sitting in that chair from above almost like you looking down from the sky through the roof.
3. This is the important deep breathing part
When you feel that you are in a fairly calm or neutral state of mind, take ten deep breaths while focusing on filling out the lungs properly, sucking in the stomach slightly, counting down from 20 (1 on breathing in and 2 on breathing out), its also important to breath in as deep as you can and through the nose expanding the lungs, when breathing out, do it through your moth and try to make it a as long as possible, almost like you are whistling, but without it being uncomfortable.
This is a great quick exercise that you can do anywhere, in the car, at the office, in the waiting room, in bed. You can make it longer as well if you feel comfortable with it.
We use these techniques at corporate events such as conferences and long presentations where people sit for long periods and losses focus and engagement. We do a combination of movements and breathing and the results are always more energy and you can see that people are engaged and more focused (for at least an hour anyway..).
I have tried to do this with my friends, girlfriend and family when they are stressed out and need to relax or focus… this have made me aware that not everyone is open to this type of exercises and rather poor a liter of coffee or red bull, which I as well can prefer at times, but I know its not sustainable and I get a bad caffeine hangover.
I encourage you to try this right now, and just see what it feels like, but also next time you find yourself breathing with the top of your lungs, feel unfocused or stressed, maybe start where no one sees you as people will ask what you are doing..
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