This last year it feels like the corporate world has gone up yet another gear in terms of speed – I know it’s hard to believe. You already live in a fast paced world – I wonder how many more gears there are!
With this gearshift I noticed a new phenomenon: my corporate clients were arriving at their coaching sessions hardly breathing.
It seemed like breathing was a necessary evil interrupting high speed talking/communication. If my clients were breathing (which they obviously were) it was very shallow and high up in the chest. Naturally they had no clue they were doing this and what the impact on them was.
A client’s experience
This phenomenon was so pronounced with one leader I decided to copy his breathing as I was listening to him to see what it was like to breathe like that – after a very short period of time I thought I was going to faint!
When I pointed this out to him he was very shocked/surprised but then upon reflection he did recognize that his breathing was often like this and that there were indeed negative consequences.
As a result he chose to put some attention on his breathing for the following month and when we had our next session he shared how much better his month had been. He’d also realized, having experienced it for himself, that when he breathed more deeply more oxygen got to his brain, his brain functioned better and his mental capability was higher.
Seems obvious….right? Yet how many of us ever think of taking 2 seconds just to notice our breathing especially if shallow breathing restricts the flow of oxygen to the brain?
Impact on the bottomline
When we’re in fast and furious mode with less oxygen going to the brain, we tend to:
- be more reactive
- say the wrong thing
- jump to conclusions
- not listen/not hear what’s really being said
- make rash vs considered decisions
- create “mess” which takes time and effort to clear up
- live perilously close to flight/fight mode
The inbuilt self-regulating system of the body – a simple act
The good news is that you don’t need to add watching your breath to your already lengthy to-do list!
The simple act of just turning 10% of your attention to the breath from time to time, not trying to change it, just the noticing will naturally increase awareness and awareness itself will then naturally enable “self-correcting” to occur.
Your system is designed to self-correct, to bring you back into wellbeing naturally. Breathing will self-regulate naturally with awareness.
This simple act will have you function at a higher more sustainable level and save you time and effort. Once this becomes more natural it’s easy to do at any time including during meetings.
So stop….take 2 seconds….turn your attention to the breath…and allow awareness to handle the details.
Pay-offs my clients have experienced include:
- Greater mental clarity
- Thoughts and ideas of a higher order
- Better decisions
- Clearer and more effective communication with others
- Increased efficiency, less waste
- Less reactivity or at least catching & handling it earlier
- Dare I say, more fun! Less stress
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