Anything That Induces Heavy Breathing
“The difference between peak performance and poor performance is not intelligence or ability; most often it’s the state that your mind and body are in.” ~Tony Robbins
Our contemporary lifestyles require us to remain seated—on our devices, in our cars, at the dinner table. But we are not designed to sit for extended periods of time. Or, to stew in an emotional soup of frustration, anger, grief, sadness or rage. Anything that disturbs our peace is an obstacle to our ability to be happy and productive.
And this is the danger we find ourselves in…
Going Against Our Very Nature
We are also not designed to be medicated into feeling better with drugs, alcohol, and huge quantities of sugar and refined foods. It goes against our physiology and our innate capacity for health and well being.
For many of us, when the long overdue moment arrives to move, we instead stay—at the computer, in the car, immersed in a project—ignoring the impulse until it goes away, and then forgetting that we even had the impulse at all.
When we don’t respond to our internal prompts, we’re ignoring the feedback of our inner voice. The natural impulse to move gets suppressed the longer we ignore the signal, until we just don’t feel like moving.
Whenever you’ve been at the computer, on long Zoom calls, in meetings, or extended conversations on your cell phone, the moment arrives when it’s time to shift gears.
The Need for Deep Breathing
What is “heavy breathing” but an activity that engages our mind and body in a focused, even joyful, way? More than just the mechanics of moving your body—heavy breathing induces a “state change.” By changing your body’s physiology you change your state and shift your focus.
Heavy breathing (deep breathing) is the pause that refreshes.
I spend the first 2 hours of my day sitting in quiet contemplation, reading, and writing. While the ego sleeps, my mind is awake enjoying the sweetness of the morning calm.
The impulse to move enters my mind and body around the 2 hour mark, and I follow the impulse by hitting the trails for a run, lifting weights, and stretching. To warm up, I’ll play loud music and dance in the kitchen for a minute. My dog watches, but he’s not the least bit embarrassed.
Anything that induces heavy breathing, seriously.
After the initial round of morning activity, shorter intervals of work are interspersed with frequent breaks every hour or so.
Practically speaking, muscles shrink and weaken as we grow older. Muscle atrophy accelerates with lack of activity. This should be cause for awareness, if not alarm. If you’re feeling flabby, you have to exercise. When you feel your energy dip and the mental gears start to grind, it’s time to move.
The saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” is even more apropos as we age mentally and physically. It’s common sense, not rocket science.
Reading the Cues
Maybe you’re like me and sometimes you obsess over details. The obsession can keep us glued to our seat. Diminishing returns is the result when we overextend ourselves, hampering our ability to stay connected to the source of our creativity.
The need to move can be as simple as shifting from the computer to a short stretching routine for a few minutes. Even cleaning the toilet qualifies as a break. Simply going from one activity to another creates the gap we need to continue refreshed.
Another cue is knowing that it’s time to eat. Not a heavy meal, but simple concentrated protein, healthy fats and oils, or fruit, for a quick boost. I start my day with coffee, a green drink, and later a pile of eggs with veggies after my morning workout. Then, back to work. The next break an hour or two later might include a smoothie or a light lunch. Then, back to work again. I don’t skip meals because food is fuel.
Instead of letting your energy bottom out, keep it steady throughout the day and stay well nourished..
Moving to Let Go – Deep Breathing Benefits
When a situation arises and you are unable focus, get triggered by something, or lose patience with a particular problem, it’s time to shift gears—again.
Let go of the troubling thought, the judgment, or emotion. Protect your energy and let go whatever has disturbed your peace. Let go moment to moment until you feel the grip on your mind begin to loosen and peace return.
The simplest solution is to get up and move.
Moving energy—anything that induces heavy breathing—changes your state and quickly shifts your focus.
If a gentler approach is called for, refresh your creativity with a quick shower. Or, lie down on your back and relax for 10 minutes. These are simple restoratives.
Give yourself permission to create a safe, sacred space to rest in. Light a candle, burn sage or incense, say a prayer or offer a simple blessing. Grab your journal, or break out the Crayolas and draw.
Seriously, these activities deepen your connection to your own inner light.
Look within for what calls to you. Talk, write, or draw. Sounds, words and pictures are symbols for what you feel inside. Listen for what speaks to you in a quiet moment. Then, refreshed, return to the task at hand.
The real secret is being connected to your intuition, your inner guidance, and responding to the messages that keep you inspired and energized throughout the day.