Leadership Mind-Strength From 6 Breathing Techniques
Great leaders seek knowledge to continually and incrementally improve. Think of it as a transcendence perspective. It requires the ability to prepare your mind and body for transcendence to an incredible vision. Great leaders have these types of visions. They have enlightened powerful minds that help others while helping themselves. They manage stress, anxiety, hostility, and the all-mighty negativity through their mind. The foundation for mind-strength is controlled breathing.
To start, powerful mind enlightenment requires striving to be a better version of yourself. This should be a never-ending journey. Along the journey use these six breathing techniques to maintain resilient positivity in even the most precarious situations. Calm, cool, and collected demeanors prevail. Your mind-strength increases like a superhero when you master control of perceptions and expectations. This powerful leadership ability all starts with your mind’s ability to control your breathing. Notice I said, “your mind’s ability,” meaning your total mental focus and control. I’ll show you the six breathing techniques to transcend your mind towards greatness so you become more effective in your actions, inspire others to emotionally connect with your vision and achieve it.
As simple and as natural as breathing is, it’s still something we need reminding of when things get tense or intense. I hope to challenge you and make you think deeply so there will be times that you are engrossed in introspection and extrospection. You will need to take some deep breaths. More important is doing this during the chaos of life so you remain calm, cool, and collected. Being cool under pressure is a striking and inspiring leadership characteristic. Both breathing and focus techniques are the superpowers enabling you to be the unwavering leader amidst the chaos.
So, what is the big deal about breathing? How to breathe deeply seems rudimentary right? After all, we all know how to breathe since we have done it since birth. That is the thing though. We take breathing for granted and overlook the power and control we can command by consciously controlling our breathing and helping others do the same. There are actually many different types of breathing techniques.
There are times when you need to stop and do controlled breathing techniques. When you cannot stop you can exercise techniques subtly in a crowded room where the pressure directed at you may be high. Direct your colleagues to do the same and help them. If it helps you comprehend the importance of breathing techniques, then consider how militaries train Special Forces to use breathing techniques to increase performance and calm the mind in the incredibly intense situations encountered such as bombs exploding and bullets whizzing by. You need to take breathing and focus exercises seriously as you also encounter tough situations. They may not be gunfire dictating life or death, but you certainly face situations that greatly impact your life.
Here are six breathing and focus exercises to practice and match the ones that best suite your needs in certain situations.
- Deep Breathing
- Resonate or Coherent Breathing
- Breathe Focus Technique
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Pursed Lip Breathing
- Equal Breathing
Deep Breathing. This is my personal favorite. It’s easy and effective at focusing you to perform tough mental challenges or physical activities. It gets you feeling positive and powerful. You can do this anywhere to get more relaxed and centered. It helps relieve shortness of breath by preventing air from getting trapped in your lungs. It helps breathe in more fresh air. Here is how; standing or sitting, draw your elbows back slightly to allow your chest to expand. Then take deep breaths through your nose. Hold each breath for five seconds before slowly releasing it by exhaling through your nose. I advise that when you do this you add the technique of positive thinking and mentally say, “I can overcome any obstacle and achieve my goal.” Mentally say whatever positively fits you.
Resonate or Coherent Breathing. You can do this anywhere because it’s simple. This is my second favorite breathing technique since it helps focus and combat negative thinking. It’s a big hit when shared with groups. You will breathe at a rate of five to six full breaths per minute. Do this by inhaling and exhaling each breath for a total ten to twelve-second count. This rate of breathing maximizes your heart rate variability (HRV) and reduces stress. It can reduce symptoms of depression when combined with Lyengar Yoga according to some studies. Here is how; inhale for five or six seconds and exhale for five or six seconds. Then continue this breathing pattern for at least three to four minutes.
Breathing Focus Technique: Choose a focus word that makes you happy, feel relaxed, smile, or is neutral to think about. It could be words like calm, rest, relax, let go, peace, etc. Choose whatever words are best for you to focus on and repeat while you do this technique. Here is how; sit or lie down comfortably and think about your breathing, but do not try to change how you are currently breathing. Then switch between normal and deep breathes three to five times. Pay attention to the differences between normal and deep breathing where your abdomen expands with each deep inhalation. Pay attention to how shallow breathing feels different than deep breathing. Continue to practice deep breathing a few more times. Let out a loud sigh during each exhale. Next, begin practicing breath focus by combining deep breathing with imagery and a focus word or phrase you choose to relax. Start imagining the air you inhale brings waves of peace and calm throughout your body and mind. Say in your mind, “Inhaling peace and calm.” Then imagine the air you exhale washes away tension and anxiety. Say in your mind, “Exhaling tension and anxiety away.”
Diaphragmatic Breathing: You need a private space unless you are doing this with a group before or after meditation or workout activities. Think of this as belly breathing. Practice it about five or more times a day for at least a few minutes. It is common to feel tired when you first start practicing this method. It is okay to feel tired. Just keep practicing as it gets easier and becomes more natural. Your diaphragm will become stronger. It can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Here is how; lie on your back, place your head on a pillow, and slightly bend your knees. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand below your rib cage so you can feel the movement of your diaphragm. Then slowly inhale through your nose while feeling your stomach pressing into your hand, and keeping your other hand as still as you can. Last, exhale using pursed lips as you tighten your stomach muscles, keeping your upper hand still.
Pursed Lip Breathing: You can use this technique at any time. Even in a crowded room. This is a simple technique that helps slow down your breathing pace by simply applying deliberate efforts in each breath. It helps control shortness of breath. It helps slow your breathing pace so each breath is more effective. I have found it to be a crowd favorite when I am working with small and large groups because people say they like exhaling through pursed lips. Here is how; first, relax your head and shoulders. Then by keeping your mouth closed, inhale slowly through your nose for two seconds. Next, pucker or purse your lips just as if you were trying to whistle. Exhale slowly blowing air through your pursed lips for four seconds. Repeat this process for a few minutes.
Equal Breathing: this is also known as Sama Vritti in Sanskirt. You need to do this while seated comfortably. It is known for invoking mental calmness, evenness of temper for any situation, especially in challenging moments of your life. The technique focuses on making your inhales and exhales the same length. The premise is that by making your breath smooth and steady you will feel balanced, calm, and evenness of temper. Here is how; sit comfortable and breathe in and out through your nose. Simply count during each inhales to ensure that you exhale for the same count. Instead of counting you can choose a word or phrase to synchronize the lengths of inhales and exhales. This also makes the technique much more powerful when you use a power word or phrase. If you like, you can add a slight pause or breath retention after each inhale and exhale because normal breathing involves a natural pause. Perform this technique at least six times.
Don’t think too much about it. Just start incorporating these techniques daily. Set to-dos and calendar reminders. Schedule time on your calendar for this if you have to in order to get this in your armory.
Okay, right now practice my favorite breathing exercise, Deep Breathing, standing or sitting, draw your elbows back slightly to allow your chest to expand. Then take three deep breaths through your nose. Hold this breath for five seconds before slowly releasing it by exhaling through your nose. I advise that when you do this you add the technique of positive thinking and mentally say, “I can overcome any obstacle and achieve my goal.” This is the technique I advise you to lead by example with and encourage your colleagues to do during meetings and when they are on their own.
Good hunting in the pursuit of your incredible vision!