How many people actually just stop during the course of their day to take a minute out to breathe?
The answer is probably “not very many”. I’m going to be turning 50 in just a little over a week from now and it wasn’t until very recently that I’ve started to do this between 3 and 4 times a day.
The premise is very simple. Stop what you’re doing, sit down regulate your breathing for a couple of breaths and then consciously inhale and exhale for a minute. Think about nothing else other than the air filling your lungs.
The results of doing this are quite profound after a while. The more days you do this the more calming it becomes. It is like a mini defrag, a cleansing tonic, a hot and cold shower; all in one and only for a few short minutes during the day.
So how has this got anything to do with my job?
Today I was on a call, it was early in the morning and I was still bubbling on the caffeine and slow release carbs I’d enjoyed from my breakfast. It was one of my first calls of the new working week and I do enjoy this spring like Monday morning feeling coming back work, especially after a lovely weekend.
The conversation was flowing well and I felt myself beginning to talk just a little too much, which is something I preach about it constantly and yet putting it into practise can still occasionally be a challenge. Breathe! I didn’t take a whole minute whilst on the call, that would have been really quite awkward, but I did inhale and exhale in one full breathing cycle giving the person I was talking to the time to take to reflect on the answer I’d given them. It also gave me time to begin listening again and as such the conversation went on much longer than anticipated and significantly more information was imparted from both sides.
As a result of this simple exercise my day, and working week, did start rather well and the art of consciously breathing is paying off. Not only for my daily well-being but also for professional self.