Don’t underestimate the power of mindful breath as a key tool to re-align your mind/body and create your most empowered mindset and energy to reach your goals. Getting back on track after this unprecedented year is going to take a stronger than usual inner strength and a new level of innovative and creative thinking to adjust for all of the unexpected changes.
It’s time to dust off a bit and find some much need inward focus and reflection. Your goals likely look very different than you had anticipated for 2021. Nonetheless, it’s important to have clarity on what you want to accomplish in the new year. Our attention has been externally focused since March–glued to the news, politics and social feeds. Tech has helped us to feel somewhat connected to teams, colleagues, school, friends and family but our constantly connected digital lives have left us disconnected from ourselves. You may not have even taken a minute to pause from the chaos and think about planning for 2021. The tendency has been to live in our “fight or flight’ response–with an acute awareness of danger all around. This sympathetic nervous system mindset activates your autopilot shallow breath which can leave you in a constant state of low grade stress. It’s time to breathe more mindfully and recalibrate into a more calm parasympathetic-led mindset. Breath works. It’s neuroscience. Mindful breath helps you create the exact mindset and energy that you need in any given moment. It’s always accessible–just tap into it.
Breath is self care and nourishment; it’s the catalyst that allows you to quickly reconnect back to you, your purpose and priorities. It’s never too late to begin a simple breath practice. A few simple slow, deep breaths with your eyes closed will easily transport you inward to relax and reflect. If you’re craving optimism and/or clarity–create it. If you’re in need of confidence and momentum, create it. If you’re in need of kindness, be kind to yourself. There is a breath brain connection when you inhale through your nose you connect to the part of your brain that regulates emotion. You can then instruct your mind/body with breath and strategic inner dialogue to create exactly what you need. There are breath tools for every mood/mindset you want to embody.
When you take back control of your attention and begin to focus on creating new goals you can begin to “breathe your goals to life.” When your mind and body are aligned and in sync, you’ll notice a whole new level of focus, clarity, optimism and momentum. Then you breathe into your inner strength to summon courage, persistence and determination. Your mindset matters. Breath can help you erase negative thought patterns and develop a more empowering belief system. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right,” said Henry Ford. The mind is a powerful thing and believing that you can reach your goals is tremendously effective in bringing positive outcomes. We’re on a veritable roller coaster ride these days and breath is the catalyst that allows you to continue to recalibrate your mindset and energy as often as you’d like.
From an “It’s Science!” pop up / excerpt from Breathe to Succeed book:
“Breathing at different paces or paying careful attention to the breaths…were shown to engage different parts of the brain. Humans’ ability to control and regulate their brain is unique. These abilities are not trivial. When breathing changed with the exercises, the brain changed as well…The findings provide neural support for advice individuals have been given for millennia; during times of stress, or when heightened concentration is needed, focusing on one’s breathing or doing breathing exercises can indeed change the brain.” — Morgan Cerf Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University from an article titled “Neuroscientists Have Identified How Exactly a Deep Breath Changes Your Mind.”
In these uncertain times we often feel emotionally drained. Mindful breath is the antidote. Breathe into your power. Reset with a new energy and a sense of urgent determination. Breath summons your inner strength. Breath directs you to let go of the defeat of the past several months. Don’t be defined by any setbacks. Breath brings you back to your original purpose/passion with clarity. Breath allows you to take back control of one thing that you can control: Mindset.
7 Steps to “Breathe Your Goals to Life” :
- Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Begin to lengthen your inhales and exhales to a count of 5-6 each and take 3 of these slow, deep breaths.
- Then begin Relaxation Breath for a few minutes: Inhale through your nose to a count of 4 and exhale through nose or mouth to a count of 6-8. By making your exhales 1.5 to two times the length of your inhales you’ll tap into your parasympathetic nervous system; AKA the “rest & digest” system that brings on a feeling of relaxation.
- Reflect on 2020 (in a non-judgmental way). Look at the changes that you were forced to integrate into your work and life. Think about any silver linings that came during this difficult time. Knowing that those things were out of your control, let them go with each long exhale. With each inhale breathe into a new, optimistic sense of empowerment to move forward with goals that you are strategically choosing now.
- Write down a few goals that you’d like to accomplish in the short and/or longterm. Sit comfortably again and close your eyes. Visualize yourself reaching each of those goals. See it in your mind’s eye. Commit to believing that you’ll create the opportunities to reach your goals.
- Put one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly. Breathe & Believe. Take in a deep, slow breath that starts in your belly (belly protrudes outward into your hand) and then moves up into your heart center. Gently feel the comfort of your hand on your heart center. As you inhale, embed the feeling of confidence, persistence and determination. On each exhale let go of negative thoughts/fear/doubt. On the exhale your belly moves in toward your spine. It feels counterintuitive to inhale and expand your belly, but that’s the best way . Stay in this continuous breathing cycle for 2-3 minutes. With your hand on your gut, you’re reacquainting yourself with your gut instinct and inner voice and then you’re feeling this new belief in your heart center. The mind is a very powerful force, let it work with you and for you as you breathe and believe. Nobody knows better than YOU what you need to hear in any moment–so give yourself the pep talk. Breathe into the positive words.
- Take this new mindset and energy and move from thought to strategic action. It’s time to execute on your plan. Begin to write down 5 steps (no matter how small) that you can begin to take immediately that will get you closer to accomplishing your goals. Keep the list handy and as you accomplish something, enjoy checking it off the list and add another step.
- Continue to recalibrate your mindset and energy often–in small moments. Make mindful breath a (several times a day) habit like hydration. You don’t drink your daily water allotment all at once, right? You drink throughout the day so become aware of your breath patterns too.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly your body begins to crave little mindful breath sessions. Your energy will be higher immediately, you’ll have a new sense of excitement about taking control back and being more mindful about where your attention and energy is directed. Your devices have probably been dictating where your attention goes. Mindful breath brings you back to your internal focus and priorities. How you think and feel is a choice and breath is the fastest and most effective way to transform your mindset and energy. Even just three deep breaths can be enough for some transformation! Reconnecting to yourself is key right now for self care and mental health. Breath is the catalyst forgoing inward and getting back to your best self.
Everything you need to take yourself into next-level success is within you. You know what you need to do. Breathe into that. You know what you need to change. Breathe through that. You know what you need to let go and leave behind. Breathe that out. Breath is the vehicle for transformation. You’re in the driver’s seat. Where are you going in 2021?
I’d love to hear all about it!