Beauties! I’ve missed y’all so much! You’ve been on my mind the past few months. Now that I’m feeling reestablished after a big move, you can expect a blog post from me at least once a month and possibly more often. I have loads of fresh topics to unpack here, inspired by the questions you’ve brought bravely in your coaching sessions and our delicious conversations together. Plus we have a big shift coming up: a decade change which means it’s time to make some new annual goals.
Today, I’d like to talk about a mantra that helps me feel good and stay productive: breathe and believe. The holidays can be a distracting time of year for ambitious entrepreneurs who wonder: “How can we show up for my family and friends and also get our work done?” With some simple breathing techniques, we can signal to our bodies that we’re powerful, capable, and ready to create.
Breathe and Believe: What’s This?
Those who’ve been reading here for a while, you may have noticed that I finish every blog post with it (plus “beauties” because I want to remind you of your gorgeous radiance!). This mantra helps me navigate creative conflicts, bridge the mind-body gap, and navigate overwhelm.
Breathe and believe speaks to two parts of me which I’ll call: the logistics manager and the ambitious dreamer.
The Logistics Manager
The logistics manager is focused on the “how and now” and handles the details of how to execute a project. This part of me is all business, wears her hair up in a neat bun, has her glasses on, and is ready for action and won’t stop until the work is done.
The Ambitious Dreamer
The ambitious dreamer is focused on “wouldn’t it be great if…” and is constantly thinking about what could be done in the future. This part of me is laying next to the beach in a hammock, wearing her favorite denim shorts, pedicured feet and legs up in the air and wondering: “how can we make our 90-year-old self happy?”
Using Breathe and Believe to Resolve Creative Conflicts
The manager and the dreamer are complementary opposites. When they work together, forward movement happens. When they don’t work together, projects either get stuck in logistics land and the process of completing them becomes unfun, or projects remain only in dreamland without any real-world action to bring them to life. Most of us have been through phases where we’ve let either the logistics manager or the ambitious dreamer run the show. They must both have equal say in the process. For example, I went through a long phase of thinking that the wants and desires of my ambitious dreamer part were not rational or possible. I allowed the logistics manager part of me to rule more heavily in life decision-making. While this can be useful in service of long-term goals, it can also be detrimental if gone unchecked. In that phase of life, I felt like I was working towards logistics but never having any fun and asking myself all the time: “Is this it? This rhythm of working towards something that someone else said I should do? Is this how I’m going to spend the rest of my life?” It’s essential that these two parts be equally valued for what they bring to the table.
Bring the Mind and Body Together with Breathe and Believe
Just as the logistics manager and ambitious dreamer must be on the same page to work harmoniously, so must the mind and body. Science has been working hard to understand why we walk out of our contemplative physical practices like yoga and meditation all blissed out. One of the most fascinating revelations is the health benefits gained by controlling the breath and toning the vagus nerve.
The Vagus Nerve
The vagus nerve is the 10th cranial nerve and can most easily be remembered as the nerve of emotion. Yoga teacher Eddie Stern writes in his book: One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life about how contemplative physical practices and simple breathing exercises can signal the parasympathetic nervous system to rest and relax, reduce stress and inflammation in the body.
Toning the Vagus Nerve
Eddie recommends breathing exercises to develop vagal tone. These exercises require only that we lengthen and deepen our breath by inhaling slowly and exhaling for double the amount of time as the inhales. For example, if you inhale for 1-2-3-4 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Repeat 10 times or as needed at regular intervals. This can be practiced regularly through meditation, yoga asana practice, or in times of distress.
Developing Vagal Tone: A Powerful and Free Breathing Tool
It’s that simple. When we breathe deeply, we can increase our vagal tone and decrease anxiety, negativity, depression, and inflammation. While we will inevitably experience these unsavory emotions by virtue of being human, breathing and increasing our vagal tone can help us navigate through difficult situations and hopefully give us tools to get through difficult moments with more grace and ease.
Breathe and Believe: Tool to Navigate Overwhelm
For those who are linguistically-oriented, breathe and believe is a simple two-word imperative phrase to get us through difficult moments and remind us what we’re here to do. The simplicity of this mantra cuts through the noise of doubting thoughts and distractions. When we’re in a state of overwhelm, it can be easy to forget the clarity we have when we’re in a more relaxed and confident mental state. With these two simple words, we can remember who we are and what we’re here to do. In the coming year, we’ll explore how to get done what needs to get done without burning ourselves out, learn how to be more productive by gaining clarity on what is most important, and deciding how to enjoy the ride. In other words, we’ll focus on getting more done and having more fun!
In Summary: Inhale + Exhale + Clarity = Forward Movement
I hope the breathe and believe mantra will inspire you to get things done and free you from fear that may be preventing you from moving forward. Did any insights or questions come up for you in response to this blog post? If so, please leave a comment and share your thoughts. If you’d like new posts to appear in your inbox, please subscribe below. Breathe and believe, beauties!