About 15 years ago, a friend who was into self-help bought me a book on breathing. I frankly was a bit amused. Breathing? Come on. Let’s be serious
Fast forward a bit. I am sitting with Sam, a new executive coaching client. A bright, ivy league introverted guy who is managing people for the first time. He shares some feedback about being seen as too intense and intimidating.
I asked him to breathe. Sam squirmed in his chair but consciously took in air and let it out. I asked him to do it more slowly, more deliberately. We even breathed a few breaths at the same time. I encouraged Sam to check in with himself. “How do you feel?”, I asked. “Calmer,” he replied.
That is usually what happens when we conciously take in a breath. Since I smirked about my breathing book gift, I have gotten into yoga. The practice of yoga is all about integrating breathing with movement and quieting the mind. It works. Breathing helps us to focus on the moment we are in – in my book I refer to Presence…being where your feet are. When you are aware of your breathing it is impossible to be nervous or to be revved up.
What else does breathing do? The effect rubs off on the people around you. You are seen as in control and not frantic (even though you might be feeling somewhat like that).
Sam left my office with a tool to try on at work. He is just tapping into a natural resource that is free and always readily available. Try it and see the results – a calmer, more focused you.