After a talk I gave recently a woman said “I feel way better about what I was stressing about now.”
The most fun thing about this is is: what she said really had very little to do with me.
It had everything to with her.
All I had done was asked her, and everyone else in the room, to breathe more deeply. We did that for less than three minutes.
Before they began to shift their breath, I asked them to think about the thing they didn’t want to think about. The thing that kept them up in the middle of the night, or made it hard for them to fall asleep. That thing.
In the Middle This Happens
Then I asked them to breathe more deeply. For less than three minutes.
After, I invited them to keep breathing deeply and think again about the thing that they were worried about. Across the board, everyone felt better.
This woman summed it up this way: “Before, I felt really anxious about what’s going on, when you asked us to think about it. After I started to breathe more deeply, I felt more peaceful about it.”
Then we Change Our World
In other words: our breath can change our thoughts. And since our thoughts are in charge of how we perceive and interact with our world, our thoughts can change our world.
That woman just changed her whole world.
How About You?
The most fun inquiry is this: which state do you feel most capable in–one of stress or peace?
Of course the answer is immediate: peace.
How about this: which state makes something worse than it really is–one of stress or peace?
This time: stress.
The science is in to back this up: stress causes us to be less capable AND to see things are worse than they really are. At least eight activating systems are launched when we’re in a state of stress, including the sympathetic nervous system. I could list the other ones, but that’d be boring.
What’s most vital and impactful is that we get to choose.
Peace or stress.
Strong or weak.
Seeing the big picture and all of our capabilities and accomplishments, or lasered in on what’s freaking us out.
And as soon as we choose, we can decide if we’re gonna make it happen.
There are so many ways to make the better option and outcome happen. Mindfulness tools like breathing are one of many–and some of my favorites.