Tool: Connected Breathing

I’d like to introduce you to your new best friend, connected breathing. This is how you chill out on the over-thinking and get out of your head, at least for a moment. You reset. You get centered. You get clear.

It’s very simple. All you do is connect the inhale with the next exhale. And then connect that exhale with the next inhale. Wash, rinse, repeat. You don’t have to breathe any differently other than that. A client thought I meant hyperventilating. I’m glad he mentioned that before he passed out while driving… Breathe as deeply or as shallowly as you want. Do what feels right. I usually breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, but do what you want. The point is that you connect the inhales and exhales so that there’s no gap in between.

So what’s the big deal with connected breathing, you might ask? Very simple – if you’re always focused on the next inhale or exhale, there’s no room for your chatterbox mind to creep in! To test this out, do some connected breathing for even just fifteen seconds right now and see if it was easier than normal to clear your mind of the chatter. And as always, when you notice some chatter, just let it go and return to the breath. No big deal.

This is just a slight modification to normal breathing that makes it easier to get out of your head. One of my friends has said that this has really been working for him. When he notices himself living in his head, he stops immediately and does about three connected breaths. Then he resumes what he was doing, much more present than before. This decreases all the stress and anxiety that living in our head tends to cause and exacerbate. The result is that you feel lighter and more clear. And everything else in your life is exactly the same. All the same stressors and challenges are there. You’re just more clear as you handle them.

If you’re feeling really stressed out, worried, anxious, or fearful, do this for about a minute and see if you feel any better. You still have to deal with the situation, but this allows that tension to start to clear out of your system. You should at least feel a little better, and that’s your job – to get that junk moving. You might even feel totally different. And that took only one minute. Most people don’t actually¬†do this type of thing, though. And it only takes a minute… Of course if something reminded you of a past trauma or something big, do this for longer. One minute can work wonders, though.

If you like living in your head, then definitely don’t do this. That’s a painful existence for most people, though. Those people tend to say it can be very tough to snap out of the story. They’re in constant thought and have been for decades. This is a simple tool that can help. I got it from an amazing book called The Presence Process by Michael Brown. It leads to a 10-week breathing program that’s designed to let all of our buried emotions, some of which literally came from when we were in the womb, come up gently and naturally. Once they come up, it’s just like we’ve always talked about on this blog – feel it. When you feel a feeling, it leaves. It’s job (to be felt) has been done. I’m only in the earlier parts of the book, so I haven’t done the program yet. If/when I do, I’ll certainly let you know and will keep you posted on what happens. I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve read so far, though. There really are so many great teachers and teachings out there these days, by the way. People really are starting to wake up. So cool…

Well, that’s all for now. Happy breathing and let me know if this helps!