Episode 158: What We Learned From Mindful Breathing

We are all living our lives in the fast lane. Ever wonder what would happen if you started doing the exact opposite by slowing down a little more?

Our minds are a jumble of competing thoughts because we are trying to squeeze too much into our already cram packed lives. No wonder we are preventing ourselves from taking sustained action on our goals.

If you want to transform your life you need to slow down to create space for the change you want to make. The first step to putting the brakes on your life starts by taking 5 mindful breaths each morning.

What You Can Learn

  1. How to focus your awareness to one aspect of your life.
  2. The basic tools for beginning a meditation practice, so you can settle your mind and clear your thoughts.
  3. The ability to relax whenever you feel overwhelmed or anxious.

How To Do This Challenge

The core goal of this challenge is to show you how to start controlling your thoughts by first learning how to settle down your busy mind through the practice of 5 deep breaths each morning.

Many of us wake up with a rush of thoughts in our heads. Mindful breathing in the morning can help establish a more relaxing tone for the rest of your day by slowing down the tempo of your thoughts.

Download the Mindful Breathing Challenge Worksheet

What Chris Learned

Mindful breathing helped me become aware of the low level of anxiety I’ve been experiencing for most of my life. Performing 5 simple breaths in the morning helped me create a new baseline for the tone of my day. Previously when I woke up, I plunged into my daily routine with no awareness about establishing a mood for my day. I now realize mindful breathing is a tool I can use when I need to reset my mind and be my best.

  1. Mindful breathing doesn’t just have to be practice in the morning. You can use this exercise as a tool in throughout your day. Our challenge was to do mindful breathing in the morning, but I began using the exercise as a tool throughout my day to help me focus on a task or activity.
  2. Your posture matters. Taking full, deep breaths requiring sitting up straight with your shoulders back and chin up slightly up. Soft surfaces are not optimal. It is best to sit on the floor or in a seat that will allow you to sit in a powerful position.

 Here’s the action I’m going to take as a result of this challenge:

I’m going to permanently make mindful breathing part of my morning routine. This new habit will fit perfectly between my habits of drinking a large glass of water and taking a shower. Drinking a large glass of water is my trigger activity to remind me to do my mindful breathing practice every day.

What Stephen Learned

 I have experimented with various forms of meditation for several years to alleviate my anxiety.

Mindful breathing has been by far the most useful to me because it’s so simple. You can do it anywhere and at anytime. It can help reframe my mindset in just minutes and makes me feel as relaxed as when I’m in my happiest of moments. 

  1. Skip your mindful breaths one morning to see if you feel any different. There were a couple of mornings during the challenge when I forgot to take my 5 deep breaths and man did I ever notice the difference!  At some point later on in the day, I would feel more overwhelmed, tense or cranky. I was instantly reminded that I forgot to do my mindful breathing, so I immediately took the time to take my deep breaths. 
  2. Use mindful breathing to stop your negative thoughts. I found myself taking 5 deep breaths more frequently as a way to retrain my thoughts, especially as I became aware of a flood of negative thoughts. It can be so tempting to give into those thoughts sometimes, especially when you feel you’ve been wronged. I’ve learned they can do more harm than good. I was reminded by the power of mindful breathing to stop those thoughts in their tracks, so they can be redirected in a more productive direction. 
  3. Filling the bottom of my lungs with air feels so amazing! This challenge made me aware of the “shallowness” my normal breathing. I’m not using the full capacity of my lungs when I typing away at my computer. I now find myself taking a really deep breath just for the sense of relaxation it makes feel.

Here’s the action I’m going to take as a result of this challenge:

I’m going to try taking 5 deep breaths just before I start a verbal social interaction with someone like a meeting, phone call or even meeting up with a friend, so I can be more present. I think it will help settle down my thoughts, so my attention can be focused more fully on that person.

Some Advice About This Challenge

Now that we’ve experience this challenge, we’ve learned a few things to share with you, so you can get even more from this challenge than we did! 

  1. Post a note on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself to do your 5 breaths. The magic of 5 deep breaths can be powerful, but also easy to forget if you’ve never practiced any form of meditation!
  2. Place your hand on your stomach as you inhale. A good deep breath requires taking in air to fill the bottom of your lungs. When you so, you will feel your belly expand slightly.
  3. Focus on the sound of your breath and not the monkey chatter in your head. We all have that annoying inner voice yapping away in our heads. It seems to grow even louder when we try to mediate. Drown out the sound of your inner voice by focusing on the sound of your breath as you inhale and exhale.

Need to be held accountable? Get support when you join UnStuckable.co. We’ll send you a link to our private Facebook Group, so you can get help committing to this challenge!

Take the Challenge Now!