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Day 2: Breathing

Switch off flight or flight mode — it doesn’t deserve your response.

Have you ever been put on the spot? You know that feeling when you’re in front of the class, or department and someone says, “Hey… why don't you explain the situation?”

And you start sweating, breathing fast, and you can feel the anxiety rising?

That response is a fight or flight response, meaning our brain is signaling to our bodies that there is something we should be afraid of and that we need to be ready to either fight or run away.

Our heart rate rises, our awareness increases, and our breath speeds up.

This is not such a great state to live in and causes stress in our life. If we learn to control our breathing, we can actually reverse that fight or flight effect and we can even create more calmness in our inner world.

We’re going to talk all about how to do that. So stick around.

Read the full video transcription:

Hey, it’s Doug Cartwright and I’m the founder of The Daily Shifts and I’m going to help you find happiness and purpose in your life.

After using the techniques and practices I’ll talk about, you’ll love the person you’ve become and will enjoy experiencing life at a higher level.

You are on the second day, day 2, of our happiness habits best week ever challenge.

Today we are talking about breathing.

Our bodies are pretty amazing. Beyond that fight or flight response that we talked about earlier, our brain coordinates with our bodies and carries out a lot of automatic functions.

Could you imagine how annoying it would be if you had to tell your body to breathe, digest your food, pump your blood, or even blink?

Because we have these automatic functions, most of us don’t really pay attention to our breath, so most people breathe in from their chest — it's called a survival breath.

This type of breathing is a shallow breath and we’re only getting about 27% of our max capacity when breathing with this short breath.

Notice the next time you’re put on the spot or you have to talk in front of a group of people and you start feeling anxiety. This anxiety will create short, shallow, chest breaths.

Slower breath brings us to the present moment and connects us to our intuition. If we breathe deeply into our belly, this rejuvenates our whole body so we feel more energized and more alive.

Read the entire transcription...

For example when you watch LeBron James at the free-throw line what is the first thing he does? Takes a deep breath.

Focusing on the timing and pace of our breath can have positive effects on our body and mind.

A recent study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.

A recent study showed that controlling breathing by counting breaths influences our brain connection to regions related to emotion. Participants were asked to count how many breaths they took over a two-minute period, which caused them to pay focused attention to their breathing.

When they counted correctly, brain activity in regions related to emotion, memory and awareness showed a more organized pattern versus what’s normally experienced during a resting state.

The results are preliminary, but it can safely be assumed that controlling your breathing aligns your brain function and produces increased feelings of calmness and heightened states of awareness.

Let’s talk about today’s tip. We’re going to talk about the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

This has been described as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.”

So here’s how it works.

Find a place to sit or lie down comfortably. You could even do this while sitting at your desk. Be sure you practice good posture, especially when you’re starting out. If you’re using the technique to fall asleep, lying down is best.

Prepare for the practice by resting the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, right behind the top front of your teeth. First, let your lips part. Make a whooshing sound—exhaling completely through your mouth. Next, close your lips Inhaling silently through your nose as you count to four in your head. Then for 7 seconds—hold your breath. Make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds. When you inhale again, you initiate a new cycle of breath. Practice this pattern for 4 full breaths. The cool thing about this exercise is you can do this anywhere. Whether you’re on the bus, the subway or just at home.


So here’s your growth challenge for today.

Be mindful of your breathing throughout the day. Pause 3 times today, preferably before meals and do this breathing exercise. If you feel yourself falling into that anxiety breath, take a minute and do this. if you need help to refer to the daily Shifts app.

Start noticing: where is the origin of your breath currently?

Is it in your chest? Or is it in your belly?

Now that your growth challenge is complete, here is a very simple habit to start working into your day. When you’re feeling stressed and you intuitively know you need to pause, breathe.

Thank you for watching today. If you learned something new, make sure you mention it in the comments below and post about your progress on Facebook and on Instagram. Use the hashtags #thedailyshifts and #bestweekeverchallenge

I cannot wait to see the person you’re becoming.

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