Regulate your Mind and Body by Paying Attention to All Four Parts of Your Breath

Finding Your Power in the Pause with Breath Retention

Did you know there are four parts to the breath? Most conversations centered around breath are broken into two parts: inhalation and exhalation. The space between the inhales and exhales is equally as important. Without the pause that comes at the top of the inhale and the bottom of the exhale you would be breathing much too fast. Hyperventilation is an example of how breathing looks when the pause is removed. 

As you breathe throughout your day this pause is minimal, almost unnoticeable. Every day you breathe in and out over 20,000 times while giving zero thought to the significance. A function of the respiratory system that happens automatically and is vital from your first breath to your last. 

Paying Attention to the Pause

The Navy Seals understand the power of the pause probably better than any other organization. They use it as part of their training because it is an optimizing breath practice that helps you stay calm while improving concentration. It’s no surprise this technique is used by a group of high-performance individuals who are known for being put in extremely tense situations. They understand the importance of all four parts of the breath and how it aids in lowering blood pressure. The Seals need to think clearly at all times and slow, stable breaths help them do just that. 

Breath retention practices help you focus your attention on the pause both at the top and bottom of your breath. By consciously extending the pause to create a breath hold you bring your attention inward. This concentrated activity focuses the mind intently on what’s happening in the body. 

Your breath is your life force, and when you practice breath retention you are cutting off that life force in a controlled manner. Training your autonomic nervous system to stay calm in high-stress situations. 

Regulate Your Mind & Body

This incredibly efficient tool not only teaches the nervous system to remain calm, but it also improves concentration as unnecessary mind chatter becomes less important when your breath is on the line. Your mind begins to devote all attention to the activity at hand. When you are practicing a 30-second or one-minute breath hold your mind has only one focus: a desire for breath. 

Plus you are training your body to be less reactive to strong needs and desires. Slowing the breath and practicing retention from a controlled space helps you to show up more intentionally. Reminding you how good it feels to be in control. And that nice inhalation of air after a retention hold is the best breath of the day. Energy pulses through the body sending a sense of relief to every cell. 

Your breath and your brain are interlinked. One will always follow the other. If you can calm your mind, your breath will follow and if you can calm your breath, the mind will follow. This, of course, works the other way too. If your mind is spinning out of control in rage, lust, or uncertainty, so will the breath. Forcing it to be short and shallow. Moving you into that hyperventilation state where no pause is accounted for. 

Practicing breath retentions help us recognize when we are out of balance and guide our mind and body back into regulation.

Box Breathing

Box breathing is my all-time favorite breath practice. It has been the single best practice for me to clear my mind, feel into my body, and find inspiration. It is as simple as it is effective. 

Conscious breathing does wonders for our health as the respiratory system is connected to all aspects of the body working properly. 

Dedicating time to not only notice your breath but also to pay attention to the pause is incredible healing. It has helped me to see my intrinsic connection to all things as I receive breath, hold breath, offer breath, and am breath. 

Simple 5-minute practice

  • Set a time for 5 minutes
  • Find a comfortable seat, crisscross or hips to heels on the floor, or if in a chair: move to the edge so your feet are firmly planted and your spine is straight.
  • Soften your gaze
  • Bring your attention to your breath.
    • Notice where your breath naturally wants to travel
    • Allow your body to move gently with the breath
    • Guide your breath through your lungs and into your abdomen
  • Exhale all the air out through pursed lips
  • Seal off the lips and inhale deeply through the nose filling up your belly, ribcage, and chest as you count to 4.
  • With your body full of air, hold as you mentally count to 4 again.
  • Exhale slowly and unrushed as you once again count to 4
  • At the bottom of the exhale close off the mouth and hold as you count to 4
  • Inhale and repeat the 4x4x4x4 cycle until the 5-minute alarm sounds.

The first few rounds might feel uneasy or lopsided. But if you stick with it the process begins to be something you can feel. You become calmer and relaxed.

If a 4-count feels easy, count to 5. If it feels tough, count to 3. There is no rule. The best way to begin working with breath retention is to start. Teach yourself how to control your breath. Notice where your breath is traveling. Get curious about what comes up both emotionally and sensationally. These are all clues that will help you better understand yourself and your connection to the world around you. 

5 Minutes a Day

Breathwork is a meditation, and in 5 minutes a day, you will set yourself on a path to health, insight, and growth. Breath retention becomes a fun and relaxing activity that you won’t want to miss. You will begin to notice that moment when your inhale becomes an exhale, and when your exhale becomes the wave of the next inhale. There is a powerful connection between your breath and the world around you. If you are looking to deepen your practice and want some guidance along the way, check out my 4-week self-led online course, Breath Mindset, and feel free to leave me a note here as well. 

3 Key Qualities You Must Be Willing to Master for Online Business Success

Crafting Your Story, Finding Your Customers, and Bringing Your Business Online

Do you ever feel totally paralyzed by the amount of work it takes to bring your business online? A sea of new customers who you would never have had access to 25 years ago are now all there, online. Now instead of someone finding your local business, you can find them anywhere, but that brings on new challenges. With so many choices you need to craft your story to find your ideal customers. This can feel overwhelming, daunting, and impossible to do. 

As someone in her (almost) mid-forties, I find myself struggling with finding my online voice. I see all the gurus telling me why I NEED to buy their products and how they guarantee it will help me…

  • Find my ideal customer
  • Grow my mailing list
  • Attract high-end clients
  • Make 6-figures in 6 months

This all sounds amazing! But when you boil it down, it’s just good marketing.

I’m not suggesting there is no value in these claims. I want all the information I can to help me bring my small business to a world audience. I’ve bought multiple programs and have gained value from all of them. These online businesses take all the information out there and tie it into a pretty little package for you to take home and have a step-by-step example of how to do whatever it is that they have done. 

Totally groovy.

No matter what the course is about I always get stuck on the same thing. It’s like my block. Then I get discouraged and I fall off course. This is what I’ve learned…

  1. It’s never as simple as they suggest
  2. It all takes hard work and commitment
  3. The results highlighted are not typical
  4. YOU MUST BELIEVE YOU ARE WORTHY OF THE REWARD!!!

In every course, workshop, or FREE webinar I’ve signed up for they all say the same thing…

You must believe that it’s possible for you.

Nothing will ever work for you if you don’t believe it’s possible for you. 

No matter what you are looking to achieve you must be willing to put in the work, have a clear goal, and see yourself living that life. 

Once you start down a path, obstacles are bound to come up. But Obstacles help you get clear about your own vision–obstacles that end up being your biggest resource. 

Starting or bringing your business online is the wave of the future, but before you jump in, here are 3 key qualities you must be willing to master to bring you to the forefront of your field.

  1. Know Your Why

What you do is probably not unique to you. What you do is probably something that hundreds of others are pursuing as well. As an online business owner, you must be able to articulate why you are doing business. 

Your why is what makes your business different from all the others. 

Simon Sinek wrote a book called “Start with Why” and he reminds us to chase the dream, not the competition. This is such a great reminder. When you got into this business you were set on an outcome, not focused on what everyone else was doing. And you are not them, you are you! And people want to buy and work with people like you. People who are relatable to them. This means you have to be able to simply and accurately express your why – why buying a product or service from you is valuable. 

The “why” is what made Toms shoes so successful. Not only was his mission clear, but others identified with it and it made them feel good about their purchase. There are hundreds of choices out there when it comes to slip-on shoes, but people buy Toms because it represents something more. 

  1. Clear Communication

Communication is key. When you are looking to communicate with your audience it is wise to come from your why. All successful relationships–business and otherwise–need clear communication. It’s so easy to chase the latest trend and get caught up in all the bells and whistles of online marketing. When you do this you are throwing darts while blindfolded. 

Who are you talking to? Be clear. 

When you talk to everyone you talk to no one. 

As an entrepreneur, you must get clear. This will make it easier for you to relay your vision to others, and help you stay focused when the internal and external critics chime in.

  1. Confidence

Self-confidence is so important when you are setting your vision on any big goal because it helps you find your footing during difficult times. Confidence comes from experience and from education. 

You must believe in what you are selling. You must believe you are the person to buy from. You must believe that you are making a difference. You must believe in the value of your work or nobody else will. 

Being an entrepreneur takes guts. It can leave you feeling vulnerable and exposed. Confidence comes from feeling those feelings and taking the risk anyway. It comes from asking for feedback and adapting to changes when necessary. 

You will never succeed if you don’t believe it. No matter how many online courses or books or seminars you attend. You must believe in yourself. Everything else will follow. 

I’ve been running my online breath business for just over a year. I don’t think I’d be where I’m at without the resources I got from online gurus. I also know I wouldn’t be here without the local yoga and breathwork classes I teach. All my clients have helped form me into the small business owner I am today. 

I have had to adjust, walk away, reform, accept, and make choices based on my wealth of information. I am not where I want to be, and I have a lot of work to do, but I wouldn’t be here without perseverance and knowing that I am helping humanity connect to their greatest resource: their breath. 

I am no influencer, but I treat all my clients as though they are the most important client because they are. They are your teachers and will help you become the successful businessperson you have set out to become. 

Learn more about my business, Breath Mindset and reach out with your own thoughts. What do you think are the top key qualities for online business success?

Learning to Create Your Own Algorithm Through Visualization

Your Life is a Mirror

What do you see when you look in the mirror? If you’re not mindful of your thoughts you could get stuck in a repetitive cycle of constantly focusing on what you don’t like. Your life mirrors your thoughts, both good and bad, so the question is: Are you happy with the images and thoughts you’re reflecting?

Feeling content and happy with your life comes as a result of where you are putting your focus. I saw a post yesterday from Brendon Burchard, “Something weird I noticed this year: many people are very active every day on social media and replying and commenting to random people, but they won’t return text and voice messages of their real friends and family for days.”

Ouch! How many of us fall into this? Sometimes I find myself so busy building my business and connecting with people that I don’t take the time to check on those I love. It’s easy to mask who we are and get lost online when we do this. 

Social media is here to stay and has the potential to blur the mirror of who we really are. 

The perfect Instagram life is shallow. A messy reality is deep. 

But social media can be helpful in attracting your eye to the things and people who interest you. This all affects your mindset and can help you to develop the vision of your life into a clear path of who you want to be. 

Visualization helps us reflect the mirror we seek. 

Take a look at your Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever platform you use to express and experience our collective web. The images and products aren’t there by accident. They are an algorithm of your likes, comments, and follows. 

It’s easy to see how this mirrors your thoughts, so again, you should ask: Do you like what you see? Is it helping you feel good about yourself and the world around you? Are they bringing you closer to the vision you have for yourself so you can wake up each morning excited about the day?

We are lucky to live in a time when we have so many choices! Achieving big goals and living a life suitable for you is more accessible than ever. Believing that your goals can be a reality for you is as simple as directing your focus on what you want and reaching in that direction. 

Simple, yet not always easy. 

The easy thing to do is get caught in the self-perpetuating cycle of why certain things and lifestyles are not possible for you. 

Focusing on the reasons you haven’t achieved your goals is dangerous because your life is at risk of becoming a mirror that reflects failure, pain, and regret. Then you start attracting more of that into your life and resentment and shame start to show up everywhere. 

True desires and feelings will be expressed in positive or negative ways, and it all depends on your focus. 

If you find yourself shallow thinking or enviously focused, don’t worry! We’ve all been there. 

Turning the mirror from a negative to a positive cycle can start happening the moment you decide your life is worth it. 

If you are experiencing a plateau in your life and are feeling stuck, begin by moving your thoughts to what you’d like to see happen instead of what you are currently feeling. 

Even in a repetitive cycle of focusing on the negative, there is something to find light in. Something in your life to help you back to a neutral starting point. It might be that you didn’t have to sleep outside in the cold, or that you are able to buy yourself a cup of coffee. Anything! Start there. It’s a practice in gratitude. 

If you haven’t had practice in gratitude work it will feel a little bit like you are lying to yourself. But soon you will start to see all that you have to be grateful for, and from this space, the mirror of what you want to see will grow. 

Realizing you need work in this space is about developing your mindset, and mindset work is always a worthwhile skill to develop. 

Breathwork is my tool for visualizing my own reality and it helps me take back control of where I’m placing my attention and helps redirect me to where I want to go. I do this some days over and over again until I get it. 

Learning to Focus Your Breath

I love breath practices because they are so accessible and everyone has the mechanics to start consciously using them to their benefit. 

Conscious breathing practices put you in your body, and harness you into the moment. This is a great place to jump into meditation or visualization. 

Headphones can be a great ally in this process because here you can focus on your breathing while being led into some deep visualization techniques. There are a ton of great things out there and I am a huge fan of the Calm app because you can find the voices that are best attuned to your frequency. Calm has practices that range from 5-45 minutes in length in making it accessible for your life as well. 

When you are ready to get serious about visualization I highly recommend Dr. Joe Dispenza. He has a couple of recordings free on YouTube, but they are only pieces of the pie and only give you a taste of what he offers. His recordings hold a cadence that takes time to feel into but is always worth the ride. 

Along with the breathwork and visualization, you can also create something of a vision board to gaze upon. Physically seeing your desires is a great tool and this is how I suggest you set up your social media scrolling. Only bringing in the good you want to reflect out. There is a company called Lifebook that can walk you through all areas of your life and help you create your perfect vision. They have a range of options to help make it accessible, but the guidance is valuable. 

There are a ton of online options and you can create your own. Visualization is powerful. And when supported by your breath it can move you into a new reality. Helping you to ask yourself over and over: Am I creating the reality I seek? 

Consistency is the Key to Achieving Big Dreams

How a Consistent Routine Has the Power to SkyRocket Your Life

It’s a new year and with that comes new visions and hopes for what the next 12 months will hold. There is a lot of talk about goal-setting and evaluating your progress. Whether or not you are a proponent of this type of resolution thinking, one thing is true for us all…

We must stay consistent in our steps in order to achieve anything. 

2023 might be a big year for you. Filled with new relationships, starting that business, or expanding your family. Significant changes change who you are and how you walk through the world. On the other hand, 2023 might be a more consistent year for you; holding steady for your family, or continuing the grind to produce bigger aspirations for your future self.  Whichever category you fall into this year the key is to stay consistent. 

One Step At A Time

We all talk about big changes and what we will do once we achieve them. But we forget that big changes come from small steps made consistently. Learning how to stay consistent is the discipline that will bring you the success you seek. And consistency is all about finding a routine that works for you. 

Consistency helps us focus on the step in front of us rather than the impossible whole that leaves us feeling defeated. Daily focus on your goals is the commitment that helps you achieve them faster. 

Easier said than done. 

Staying consistent isn’t always easy because starting a new routine isn’t always easy. Some people struggle with routine, so it is vital to create a schedule that you can be consistent with. 

Motivation Is Optional

A consistent routine allows us to show up even when we aren’t motivated by the work ahead. Training yourself to be consistent instills self-discipline that keeps you focused on what needs to be done even when you can’t see the forest through the trees. 

Motivation isn’t always going to be there no matter what you are working on.

  • A relationship
  • Business
  • Novel
  • Education
  • Family obligations

You must learn to show up and give your all even when motivation isn’t coming, and consistency is how you do that. Don’t give up on yourself. Too many people do this because they lose motivation. 

The average new year resolution lasts 32 days!

That’s one month people. I spend more time planning a vacation than that. So how come people give up so early on achieving big dreams?

The problem with resolutions is that people are looking for a quick fix most of the time. 

  • Lose weight
  • Safe money
  • Start a family
  • Leave my job

Saying things like these listed above are only statements until a consistent routine of how to make them happen is established. 

I heard James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, in an interview. The question he said he is asked all the time is… How long does it take for a habit to form? His response was a hard pill to swallow. He said… If you want to have atomic habits the amount of time it takes to become consistent doesn’t matter. What matters is the commitment to showing up every day for the rest of your life. 

If you aren’t seeing progress after 30 days that is normal. Sometimes it takes months before any progress is noticeable. This is why you cannot rely on motivation to see you through. Consistency is the key to any healthy routine. 

In 32 days you may learn how to speak a couple words in a new language, but without the consistent effort to practice and learn more about the new language you will stay stuck there and end up walking away because it is too hard. 

Follow The Plan

Consistency is good for your mental wellness too. Routine is good for us. Our brains love knowing what is supposed to happen and what is expected of us. 

When we know what is expected of us and what steps we need to take in any situation we are less stressed and able to show up more confidently in our experience. 

A plan to follow is key, and you get to create that plan by looking at your life and schedule and prioritizing the things, people, and activities that help you build a consistent routine. 

The hardest part of any routine is showing up consistently. The second hardest part is taking the time to look at your life and prioritizing your needs. Sometimes taking a hard look at what’s happening in our lives and the things we’ve been avoiding makes us walk away from our lofty goals and dreams. 

  • It’s hard to imagine how we’re going to lose weight when our family time is built around meals.
  • It’s challenging to find time to practice for that marathon when we work full-time and are running around with the kids’ activities at night
  • It’s frightening to think about finding romance when you have no idea how to begin looking.

Your Routine

You have a routine that is full of to-dos. Some of them are healthy and some are not. Taking a look at your daily life will help you identify these areas, then it will be up to you to figure out how to deal with them in a healthy way. 

This too can be challenging and make us want to give up. But if you do put in the work and prioritize that which is important to you then you will have more energy throughout your day. 

Your routine will become automatic. A new habit will be formed and you will show up for it consistently even when the going gets tough. 

Once you feel like your new routine is working on auto-pilot you can begin to reflect on how it’s going and where you could use improvements and changes to help keep it fresh and consistent. 

Celebrate!

A good way to do this is by celebrating small successes along the way. For instance, celebrate a new habit! Celebrate that consistency with which you are showing up. Doing so will remind you to not throw in the towel after one or two days of set back. 

Celebrating your successes is good for your mental well-being and for your self-esteem. Personal growth comes from these consistent habits turned into routine. The consistency that is leading you closer to the path of your dream life. 

Celebrating reminds us that we are capable of achieving big things and gives us the confidence to go after more of what we desire. 

Ask yourself some questions to get started with a new consistent routine.

  • Where in my life do I already have a healthy consistent routine?
  • What are the things about this routine that help keep me consistent with it?
  • How can I focus more of my attention on achieving my goals?
  • When am I the most consistent with my time? Morning, afternoon, evening?
  • Who in my life can I talk to about helping me be more consistent with my goals?

Figure out where in your life you need discipline. Recognize that you are ready to create room for this goa. Realize that it will take work and be ready for those uncomfortable moments when you are eager to walk away. 

There are a ton of tools out there designed to help you stay on task and be consistent. I find that everyone I talk to has their own methods that work. Finding your method is essential in the consistency game. 

As the new year lies before you with so much potential for growth, I hope you say yes to yourself, and decide to put in the work. You are worthy of greatness. Greatness is within you and all around you. Find something that keeps you consistent on your path and allow this year to unfold one day at a time. Before you know it you will be a living example of your routine and all the more closer to achieving big dreams. 

Need help getting started? Check out my 4-week self-guided online course, Breath Mindset.

A Prosperous and Abundant Future Await Those Willing to Breathe Deep 

Take a Closer Look At Your Nervous System and Get Ready For Change

The new year is right around the corner, and just like that, another year of your life has passed. If you are ready to make big leaps in 2023, better review the highs and lows of this past year. How you handled stress and build bridges towards your goals can tell you a lot about where your work is to create a better future. 

A more prosperous and abundant future awaits those who are ready to ask and reflect on questions designed to both challenge you and move your forward with intention. 

If that sounds like you then let’s get to it. 

  • How did you feel emotionally this past year?
  • How was the quality of your thinking? 
  • Were you able to stay focused on what you wanted to see? Or did you spend too much time in anger and regret?
  • What was your relationship with money?
  • Did you see the growth you were hoping for in your personal and professional life?
  • Did you practice self-care? Or were you continually burnt out?

As you reflect on these questions, take note of how they feel in your body. Are any other lingering truths or excuses popping into your thoughts?

Now raise your hand if you’ve felt awkward or uncomfortable asking for your needs to be met over the last year.

My hand is high in the sky! This past year has continued to challenge me at every turn. Every time I made a leap in the right direction I was tested. As though the universe just wanted to make sure I really wanted something to go a certain way. 

These challenges reminded me that change IS challenging! But if you want to keep moving forward and achieve big goals, then you must get ready to be uncomfortable. 

Getting Uncomfortable

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with big and challenging changes in your life, you are not alone. If you feel like your mind is constantly rationalizing you out of your desires, this is normal. 

Getting uncomfortable is a sign that you are pushing through a comfort area. This is good! It means you are ready for growth and opportunity. 

If the questions in your head sound like any of these…

  • They’ll think I’m a fraud
  • I can’t afford to invest in my business
  • I’m asking for too much
  • Do I really need a coach or counselor for my healing?

And if they are coupled with these sensations in your body…

  • Lump in your throat
  • Knot in your stomach
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Shallow breathing

That means you are being pushed to your edge. Your growth edge. This is where…

  • Fear of rejection is met and challenged
  • Guilt from past events are exposed and released
  • Shame you keep hidden is brought to the light and dissolved

These are not feelings any of us wish to have. But it is on the other side of any discomfort that you will see and benefit from growth. 

Listen to Your Body

Your body is constantly giving you signals. Learning to listen to those signals is a great place to start your growth journey. If you’re ready to make the most of this upcoming year, then pay attention to the stories you’ve been telling yourself. You know, the ones that are holding you hostage in a life you don’t even like. 

Your body can tell you if what you are doing at any moment is helping or hurting you. The stories in your head are sending signals to your body that are either working towards building a healthy and beautiful life or keeping you stuck in an old one. 

The real question here is… What is your worth? And are your thoughts worthy of you?

Your Head and Your Nervous System

The stories you tell yourself day after day about what is happening in your life and what is and is not possible don’t actually live in your head. They live in your nervous system. 

Deep within your nervous system is the root of all your stories, and in order to change, you must identify these stories and pull them out from the root. 

Your nervous system houses your emotions and your energy, and it adjusts itself to protect you always. If your stories are constantly fear and lack-driven then your nervous system is reflecting that. This is why your nervous system is a great place to start. 

You can ease your body, and mind by calming your nervous system. 

This doesn’t mean problems will dissolve. But it can mean that how you react to problems will dissolve. Helping you move faster in the direction of the life more worthy of you. 

Let’s imagine what is possible for this upcoming year…

  • Feeling excited to move forward in your business
  • Ready to create more wealth and abundance
  • Spending more quality time with family and friends
  • Getting your finances in order
  • Practicing more self-compassion and health

All of this is available for you now! When you heal the root of your nervous system stories and embody your worth. 

Now is the time to stop running in circles and move into the new year with ease. 

Breathwork is the Ticket!

The simplest way to heal past stories and move into a more abundant and clear future is through breathwork. 

Breathwork helps you attract and manifest your true desires. Taking the time to slow down and consciously breathe energy and life into your body, you begin to realize where you’ve been stuck. Creating an embodied relationship with yourself is vital for transformation. Breathwork can help unlock these blocks, identify the roots of negative stories, and guide you in visualizing a future worthy of you. A total transformation from the inside out. 

Make this year the most abundant yet!

Give breathwork a try and see how it can calm your nervous system in under 5 minutes. Opening you up to see the world and your place in it through a new lens. More clear, more focused, and ready to break through old limiting beliefs. 

Below is a simple 4×4 breathing technique to get you started. 

You are also invited to watch any of my breathing videos on my youtube channel or purchase Breath Mindset, a self-led 4-week online breathing course designed to help move your mindset and breath into coherence. 

4×4 Breathing

  • Be mindful of your posture. Move your back away from any support and plant your feet firmly on the ground.
  • Begin by inhaling through your nose to the count of four. Let the breath come from your belly.
  • Take a slight pause at the top and feel the air move through your body.
  • Exhale fully through the nose to the count of four. Consciously let go of thoughts and toxins that no longer serve you.
  • Take a slight pause at the bottom and feel the stillness in your body
  • Repeat for five cycles.

3 Mindful ways to invite more peace into your busy holiday season

Skip the Stress and Bring More Presence Into Your Life

For so many the holidays are more draining than energizing. By the time January comes around, we are exhausted instead of ready to concur a new year. Why is this? How can you put a little more “merry and bright” into your season as you bounce from place to place creating holiday cheer?

At every turn you are being bombarded with…

  • Holiday movies and commercials
  • Work requests
  • Family obligations
  • Tradition upkeep
  • Decorating and meal planning
  • Shopping for the perfect gift

Unrealistic expectations of what the holidays should be surround us. I cannot think of a single human I know in my 40 years who’s ever received a car with a huge bow on it for Christmas, yet I see the ads year after year that would indicate that this is actually a thing.

One trip down Pinterest lane and I feel completely unqualified to decorate my home. Picture after picture is gorgeous, and every title exclaims easy and quick tips. Translating these images into my messy life can feel exhausting.

Choose Mindfulness instead

What if you decided to skip the stress this year and approached it from a place of mindfulness? 

  • Being more mindful in your conversations, 
  • Being more mindful about your spending, decorating, and gift giving
  • Being more mindful about your time, energy, and values

How much more rejuvenated would you feel if you felt fully present with those you loved?

I know what you’re thinking… Easier said than done, right?

Adopting a “go-with-the-flow” attitude takes work and time, but the payoff is worth it.

  • It helps you observe your perfect imperfections. 
  • It helps you see where your mind is about things. 
  • It helps you better understand the resistance and pull towards certain activities. 
  • It helps you to stop judging holiday experiences and how others approach them with more tolerance, understanding, and acceptance.

Mindfulness is essential for your mental health. And during the holidays we could all use a dose of that. 

Connecting to more peace in your inner world will help us see and connect to more peace and joy in your outer world. 

The key is to identify mindfulness activities that work for you that you can easily refer to when you feel overwhelmed with obligations. Here are 3 Mindful ways to invite more peace into your busy holiday season.

#1 Breathwork

The best antidote I have for overwhelm, anxiety, worry, and exhaustion is breathwork. Simple breathing practices calm my nervous system when my emotions are running high.

Your mind and your breath are like two peas in a pod: whatever one does the other will follow. When you are stressed and anxious your mind starts spinning and your breath becomes shallow and fast. Taking 3-5 rounds of mindful deep, long breaths will help you feel more centered and calm. And you can do this almost anywhere and at any time. It takes less than 5 minutes and you’ll instantly notice the difference.

Here are 3 breathing practices that can regulate your nervous system and help build resilience against stress during the holiday season.

#2 Focus on what feels right 

Every holiday I am so grateful that baking cookies is not a beloved past-time in my family. Don’t get me wrong, I think it sounds lovely, and I sure enjoy being on the receiving end, but I see the stress it creates. With a bazillion things going on it’s hard to find the time for everything, especially when it comes to activities you are doing out of obligation instead of joy.

From the pressure of holiday parties to the perfect gift, maybe it’s time to slow down and ask yourself…

  • Does this really matter to me? 
  • Who am I doing this for? And is that really important or necessary?
  • Do I have the energy to put into this?

Focus on what energizes you instead of drains you. This is how you can avoid holiday burnout. It helps you to show up and be present in a more mindful manner instead of being filled with resentment. 

#3 Unplug

The busier you are the more important this one becomes. It’s challenging in our busy lives to unplug and spend some needed time with yourself. No distractions. 

This means turning off your phone, no radio, no social media, no beeping, no buzzing, no kids, no friends, nothing! Just you.

Get away from the news and go for a walk, or take a bath. Learn to befriend yourself. Treat yourself like the more important person in your life and selfishly spend an hour nourishing that relationship.

Doing this for an hour will help you be more present with others. As the saying goes, you cannot fill from an empty saucer. 

Peace and Calm

These are just 3 examples of ways to build your resilience against holiday stress. There are a ton of options out there and the best ones are the ones that work for you. Find things that help you come back to calm amongst the chaos. For you it might be a trip to the yoga studio, shopping alone, or getting a drink with an old friend. Find your things and make time for them. Treat them as vital because they are, and your mental health is worth it. 

Gain Better Control Over Emotions By Practicing Being Responsive, Rather than Reactive

Moving From a Reactive to a Responsive Mind

Do you ever find yourself getting upset about something completely out of your control?

Do you find yourself ruminating on a small inconvenience and making a situation bigger in your head than it actually is? 

Do you ever catch yourself jumping from one ego-driven thought to the next only to find yourself angry and upset over nothing?

Last week this quote came up in an email I subscribe to…

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

This resonated with me for a couple of reasons.

  1. Because this principle is at the core of breathwork
  2. Because this is what is practiced by doing ice baths and cold exposure
  3. Because I often catch myself reacting instead of responding

Even with a solid breathwork practice and work with cold exposure, I still find myself having to actively work on this vital statement. 

Over the past week, I have found myself building up an unnecessary story about a situation at work that is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. In the long run, this situation works in my favor in many ways. 

I started a new job less than two weeks ago. One of the things I had mentioned I was anxious about was what to wear because I’ve never had a job where business casual was the attire, and my wardrobe consisted solely of jeans, leggings, and t-shirts. They offered great suggestions to get me going and I went shopping for new work clothes. It was fun! I actually feel a little fancy, and for this low-maintenance babe, it has been quite a treat!

Well, two days ago it was announced that we would be transitioning from our business casual attire to uniform. 

Umm…. What? 

You mean a week after I went out and spent a bunch of time and money updating my wardrobe? Now you tell me I can wear my jeans to work? The very thing I expressed anxiety over last week? 

You couldn’t mention the switchover coming 7 days later? You couldn’t suggest I start with one new pair of pants because change was on the way?

Clearly, I am agitated by the change. But here’s the thing. I actually don’t mind uniforms at all. The idea of not having to think about my clothes is awesome! And I can wear my jeans, so that rules. Bonus and bonus! 

You can feel my frustration in this example; spending time purchasing new clothes that I now have little to no use for and I’ve worn just about all of them once in the last week and a half. Tags are off and it’s a mild inconvenience. When they told us at the all-staff meeting I took it personally. I began to ruminate on how terrible this company was being managed and how poor communication is. 

I realized whoa!

Is this really how I’m going to respond?

And then this quote came through in my email to hit me in the face and remind me of why I do the work that I do. 

I don’t want to react. I don’t feel good getting wrapped into a frenzy over something out of my control–something that I am actually happy about.

Does that sound familiar to you?

Have you ever gotten upset because you weren’t invited to an event you didn’t want to go to?

Do you ever find yourself filling empty space with an argument over nothing in your head? Having imaginary conversations about what you would say to your boss, family member or friend who you are making out to be the bad guy. 

Maybe you’re guilty of complaining about something as silly as the weather. (As though the weather has anything to do with you at all.)

What if instead you learned to accept the flow of life and matched your thinking patterns to a more pliable nature? 

Instead of, It always rains on my day off, you thought, Oh good, we needed this rain.

Viewing your life and surroundings through this lens can have a profound effect on your life.

Moving from Reacting to Responding

This sounds simple, but it’s not always easy. Working on adopting new and healthier ways of thinking sounds simple, but the key is to catch yourself in the moment and make the decision to move from reacting to responding.

Right now, as you read this it seems simple enough, but you’ll find it becomes much harder in the moment. 

Why?

Because your emotions are involved. 

When your thoughts have been triggered into a story about what’s happening in the world around you, you feel it emotionally. You are used to reacting from the ego and your mind becomes busy plotting revenge or feeling sorry for yourself. These triggering emotions are highly addictive AND it’s how you’ve allowed your mind to react for so long that it feels normal and natural. 

Choosing to jump off of a highly charged emotional ego-based story is tough! Your mind will acknowledge that you are creating a fabricated story, but it won’t want to stop. It feels too good. Even if it feels awful, it’s giving you a huge dopamine drip of feelings that validate your ego. 

With practice, you can train your brain to stop the story before it spirals. You can use breathing practices to calm your thoughts and bring you into the present moment. Then you can look at what’s happening in your life and respond from a clear mind. You choose how you want to show up in this moment. 

It does take work at first. After a while, it will become easier and this right thinking will begin to bleed into other areas of your life and more and more positive change will appear all around you. 

Mastering Your Life

In order to become a master of your life you must learn this one skill…

You must be willing to move from a reactive mindset and start showing up in a more responsive way. 

Stop fueling your energy towards stories and events that you can’t change or that have little to nothing to do with you. 

The fastest way to do this is to slow down, connect with your breath, and learn to accept what is.

There is a term used widely in AA meeting that I heard and love; “Acceptance is the key to all things”

Acceptance helps us to surrender to what is and know that it could be no other way. This step alone helps us to respond in more healthy ways. 

The next time you find yourself quickly reacting to new information, jump as fast as you can out of the story you are creating, and start to bring yourself into acceptance with slow mindful breaths deep into your belly. Then from a more focused mind, you can respond accordingly. 

Looking for assistance as you start this process? Join Breath Mindset! This 4-week, self-led course will set you up with all the tools for success!

Grief, The Messy Gift We All Share

The Gift of Grief

Grief brings out an onslaught of emotions ranging from depression to rage. One of the toughest parts of grief is that we all walk the road alone. Even when family, friends, and a community of loved ones gather around us to share in that sorrow, each of us has our own unique relationship with the process. Grief is a gift in remembering love in a deep and meaningful way. Grief is a gift none of us want to unpack, but a gift we all have in common. 

Once your heart knows grief, it becomes a part of who you are. From turbulent times to spiritual moments of clarity, grief offers us a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. 

Grief is so powerful that we often feel we need permission to open up about how we feel. Grief, in all its forms, helps connect us and when shared is a powerful tool for healing. 

Whether you are in the heat of grief or mourning the loss of someone lost long ago, we need each other to share in this breath. And we need to have open conversations about other types of grief as well. Grief from a divorce, or loss of a job. Grief from letting go of a long-held dream or parting ways with a dear friend. Grief comes in many forms, and it’s more than losing someone to death.

More than losing a loved one

On the rare occasion that grief is discussed openly in our society, our minds automatically turn toward death and dying. But grief runs much deeper than that.

Grief is one of those words that encompasses a sea of experiences. Attempting to describe it is futile. Grief, like love, has to be felt to be understood. 

  • The grief of a pet stings differently than the grief of losing your mother. 
  • The grief from leaving a relationship feels different than the grief of never finding one.
  • The grief of letting part of your identity go sits differently than the grief one feels from war.

We all face grief. It is the risk of love. It runs deeper than death and it is not dependent on where we come from, or our age, gender, sex, religion or choices we’ve made (both good and bad), our finances, our dream, or our faith. 

Loss and the grief that comes with it are universal.

Grief is the pain we feel on some random Thursday at 3pm in the middle of a lecture. It is the whisper of a memory that catches us without armor on a Tuesday morning drive to work. Grief is the complicated emotions you have around the shattered relationship you thought you so neatly cleaned up 15 years ago. Grief is an unexpected earthquake that wakes you at 4am as your entire life feels like it’s crashing down around you. 

Grief is love that hasn’t been allowed to be expressed.

Grief is a gift

Grief is a form of transition. Without warning or invitation grief comes into our lives. Like love, grief comes without a timeline and without rules. Grief teaches us compassion for other humans in a way that nothing else can. Grief reminds us that the time spent with those we love is important and fleeting. Grief connects us to each other and is a messy gift that we all share.

If we can learn to open up about our grief then we can begin to heal from our grief. Our society treats grief as though it is a dirty little secret that no one should talk about. Yet it is something we all feel. The more you can be open and vulnerable in the story of your grief, the more others will feel safe and connected to you. 

Grief is a part of who we are. It is a gift that unites us. We shy away from grief because it reflects our own pain and sadness; things we don’t want to feel. Much like love, when you grieve you are exposed to feeling hurt. 

Grief is one of the unbreakable bridges that connect us to other human beings. It sheds light on the darkness and reminds us that we are all the same.

Learning to see your grief as a gift can transform you into a more compassionate human. Someone who understands that people and experiences and cultures might be different, but we are all victims of circumstance and that there is nothing more true about love than the grief it brings. 

An Invitation for grief

I invite you to step into your grief and begin to heal yourself and the world around you. Allow it to take you deeper into understanding the web of human connection. Become a witness to your grief and allow others to find solace in your vulnerability. Inside of you is the courage and strength to find meaning in your pain. Find freedom from your fight against grief and allow the waves to take you into surrender and trust. Allow your life to grow beyond the garden of grief within you and learn to share those blossoming flowers with the world around you.

It isn’t going to be easy work, but the rewards are worth it. 

Find your breath again, and let it move deep within your spirit. Bringing life to your body, and purpose to your world. Peace is inside of you now. No matter what stage of grief you are in, feel it. All of it. Allow it space to be felt and be seen because the transformation is what connects us to our humanity and brings us closer to the light. 

Breathing Thru Grief. Sunday, December 4th, 2:30-4. St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Renton WA. -Grief as a Gift- All are welcome.

3 Ways Your Breath Can Help You Say Goodbye to Self Doubt

Draw in Achievement and Release Your Inner Critic

Imagine for a moment that you are completely confident and clear about your what you want from this life. You have absolutely zero doubt that you are living the life meant for you. You know exactly what you are capable of achieving, you know how to achieve it, and you are 100% certain in your ability to receive it. You show up daily with a knowing that your experience is transforming your life for the better. 

How does that feel?

Saying goodbye to your self-doubt is a matter of what thought patterns you are willing to let go of so you can invite in more supportive thought patterns. 

Contemplating what could go wrong is a normal activity most of us play out in our heads as we think about our future and all the what-ifs? of life. But at some point, this type of pro vs. con reasoning can become harmful to our success. Being prepared for the future is a great thing, but expecting the worst is not. The trick is to learn to create a bridge in your thinking that connects a positive outlook to your self-worth. 

When you feel confident and excited about what’s happening in your world you start seeing more results and outcomes in line with that thinking. You stop second-guessing yourself because you know you bring value to the table. This outlook in your thinking brings more positive things into your life and you start feeling like a total badass in all that you do. 

The world needs more people like this. Yet somehow we’ve been tricked into a system of lack that has us feeling low about ourselves and questioning our worth. This type of thinking isn’t helpful when you are seeking joy, happiness, or a greater understanding of self. 

The good news is that if you are ready to say goodbye to self-doubt it begins with asking yourself questions and the willingness to take action in modifying what you see. 

Here are some questions to take on a walk with contemplation…

  • What do I want from this life? Do I even know?
  • What would it mean for me to show up wholly for my family?
  • What would need to change for me to fully embrace my work?
  • Where in my life do I feel like an imposter/fraud?
  • What brings me joy?

Answer these questions and all questions that arise from these questions until you have a clear vision of what a purposeful life would look like for you.

Then ask yourself; What would it feel like to live in that reality?

If you’re anything like me, then this new reality feels pretty darn good. It resonates with a deep desire within your soul. As you allow yourself to feel into the emotions of it, let it be what it is. Try to not put parameters on if it is possible or not. Just know that it IS possible and feel that throughout your entire being. 

Imposter Syndrome

Coming down from the dream cloud can feel like a total buzzkill once impostor syndrome starts tearing you apart. Am I right?

I have a secret to share…

That impostor only lives in your head! No one else is doubting your ability and shaking your confidence. You are doing this to yourself. Self-sabotaging your ideal life before it even got a chance to happen.

Well it’s time to say goodbye to self-doubt

  • It’s time to end this negative self-talk so you can fully show up in your dream life.
  • It’s time to embrace your inner badass and reach your full potential.
  • It’s time to step into your power and start making an impact in your career.
  • It’s time to devote your attention to your relationships with love.
  • It’s time to re-wire your thinking into one of belief and wonder.

This is possible for you! You can say goodbye to self-doubt and overcome impostor syndrome. You can live a life of confidence. 

Breath The Doubt Away

When you consciously work to change your breathing patterns you begin the process of re-wiring your thought patterns. As you slow down and watch your breath you begin to see clearly the thoughts that run on auto-pilot in your mind. Allowing you to identify, catch, and rewire the unwanted doubt into confidence and self-worth. 

Here are 3 ways conscious breathing can help you rewire your brain for success and say goodbye to self-doubt once and for all.

  1. Exhale Out Rumination

From time to time we all get stuck ruminating on negative thoughts and outcomes. Sometimes these negative loops run around in our thoughts for years before we even notice what’s happening. We can become so addicted to these negative loops that it becomes hard to break this chain. Breath of Fire is a great way to stimulate your nervous system by clearing out your lungs and the stagnant thoughts stuck there. As you forcefully exhale out at a fast pace the thoughts in your head take a back seat. This allows you an opportunity to feel beyond the constant mind chatter and begin to actively make new choices about your thinking patterns. 

  • Sit crisscross or hips to heels, allowing your spine to grow long and your belly to fall loose.
  • Forcefully exhale out the nose 10 times as you actively push the navel in towards the spine. (This will feel like a sneeze)
  • Allow the inhales to happen naturally.
  • Keep your shoulders and face relaxed activating only from the belly.
  • After 10 rounds go back to your natural breath.
  • Sense what’s happening in the body.
  • Do 2 more rounds of 10-20 fiery exhales to help clear out the lungs and the mind.
  1. Draw in Achievement 

You have accomplished so much in your life! Self-reflection is a great way to bring those achievements into the present moment. Self-doubt holds you back, and I get it, you don’t want to make a mistake or look silly trying something new. Here is the rub, you must be willing to risk the unknown to achieve greatness. 

Think back to a time you achieved something amazing. I bet you had to work through some fear and anxiety to get to that point, and I bet it was worth it. 

Thinking back on these highlights in your life reminds us that we can do great things and not dwell in doubt. Don’t compare your timeline to others and press forward. 

Triangle Breathing is great for helping you to draw in fresh clean oxygen, bathe in the glory of it, and release what no longer serves. Doing 5-10 rounds of triangle breathing is a great way to draw in new while leaving that inner critic behind.

  • In a chair, lying down, or in a meditation seat. Just allow the belly room to expand.
  • Inhale through the nose for a 4 count as you fill up your belly with air
  • Hold at the top for a 2 count giving this new fresh clean air time to work it’s way into your mind and body
  • Exhale out through pursed lips for a 6 count (like you are blowing out a straw)
  • Take a slight pause at the bottom of your breath
  • Repeat 5-10 times.

When our exhales are longer than our inhales we clear out old air laying dormant in the body. It allows each following inhale to bring in a fuller breath that is new, clean, and ready to actively move energy through your body. 

Triangle breath is a great practice to try anytime day or night. 

  1. Breathe Gratitude Into Your Thoughts
  • Take a full deep inhale through your nose and allow it to travel deep into your belly.
  • Exhale and release tension from your shoulders.
  • Take a few moments to connect with your breath.
  • Invite in the question, “What am I grateful for?”
  • Notice what comes up, it could be as simple as a nice warm bed, or your favorite raincoat. 
  • Begin Box Breathing using this mantra. 
    • Inhale – I receive gratitude
    • Hold –  I hold gratitude
    • Exhale – I offer gratitude
    • Empty – I am gratitude

Allow the offering of gratitude to change as you like. Perhaps box breathing love, or knowledge and understanding. Whatever comes up for you. Feel the words as you receive with the breath and offer out with the breath. 

This whole exercise doesn’t have to take long. Maybe 5 minutes to start. Leaving you feeling more grateful for who you are and what you have to offer. 

Find Support!

Your breath is your constant companion in life. It is there to support you through everything going on in your world if you learn to use it correctly. However, there are times when you may need more support to help you through a tough time, or to help navigate the challenges you are facing. Self-compassion and self-care are essential in today’s world. 

Find supportive people to talk to. Our brains are a wacky world full of neurons that remain a mystery. Sometimes the best way to move forward is to talk to someone about your difficult thought patterns. Someone who can help set you on a path to recovery. 

Others may find that reaching out to groups of people walking a similar path is the medicine they need. 

Whatever challenges are currently on your path there is a way through them. Your breath is one way of helping you clear the weeds in your mind and see that path clearer. It is what works for me. I encourage you to find the solution that works for you. Only you know what that solution is, but please remember when feelings of self-doubt creep into your life, that you are truly doing better than you can imagine, and there are millions of others, just like you, finding our way through doubt as well. 

If you are interested in learning more about how your breath can support you, check out my self-guided online course, Breath Mindset, and begin your healing through breath today. 

Invite More Gratitude into Your Life in 3 Easy Steps!

Take One Month to Reflect and Take Action

When you think about your life, what do you see?

  • Are you grateful for your family?
  • Are you satisfied with your job?
  • Are you thankful for your home?
  • Are you pleased with your health?
  • Are you empowered by your voice?

November is the season of gratitude. It’s the time of year that we turn our attention to all that we have. The more things we find to be grateful for, the more things we feel thankful for! So often we focus on the big things, but what about your everyday needs that are met without any thought? Things like…

  • Indoor plumbing
  • Wifi
  • GPS system
  • Fresh clothes out of the dryer
  • Electricity

Once you start to recognize all the things to give thanks for you find it’s the little things.

  • Warm socks
  • Snuggles with your cat
  • Laughter
  • Hot beverages
  • Your breath

From the sight of a rainbow after a storm to an unexpected moment of contentment during a traffic jam, gratitude helps us keep in mind that things are better than we may have previously believed. 

Learning to appreciate all that we have, from the roof over our heads to the people in our life, stems from all those times growing up when we were told to be grateful for all that we have. And it’s a hard thing to wrap our heads around because as kids, what we have is all we know. We aren’t thinking in terms of more or less, it just is. Once we start to understand what it means to show up wholly in our life, we begin to understand how big all the little things are. 

The small things are the big things

We hear this word, grateful all the time. We are told from a young age how important it is, but what does it actually mean? How can you develop a sense of gratitude in your own life?

Life is moving fast. You have bills, deadlines, carpools, and schedules bouncing around in your head. You have relationships and goals that you’re working on. Who has time to think about gratitude when you’ve got dinner to cook?

Gratitude is a buzzword, and we all get the basics: seek out the good in life. Research shows how beneficial this simple practice can be for your mental and physical well-being. The feeling of gratitude is practiced through action. 

Gratitude is a verb

Just like love and hate are things we feel, so is gratitude. It’s a practiced emotion. So by actively recognizing the good that surrounds us, we put gratitude into action. This recognition holds a transformative power.

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” -Willie Nelson

Gratitude pulls our mindset out from negative viewpoints and into a well of good ones. Now that you have some ideas in your head, start identifying them in your own life daily. Here are 3 ways you can begin practicing gratitude today. 

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

How would your life change if every day you started and ended the day by writing out 3 things you are grateful for? When you start identifying what you are grateful for you start looking for things to be grateful for. Counting your blessings trains your mind to see the good in your everyday life. As a bonus, you can look back on your journal and reflect on the blessings of the past and watch how much it grows through the years. 

Finish this sentence: “I am so happy and grateful now that…” 

I can be anything you want. Writing out things you are happy and grateful for begins to attract those things to you. Bob Proctor gave us this nugget of knowledge in the widely successful movie The Secret. It’s one of the simplest ways to get your mindset into that of gratitude. 

  1. Write Thank You Notes

When you begin to notice all the blessings of your life you will want to share this feeling with others. A great way to show appreciation is to write a thank you note. Nothing long or fancy, just a simple thank you is enough. When you take time to write out a thank you note it can boost your mood. Signaling a positive outlook on the world reflects back more positivity and gratitude. When you take the time to let someone know they are appreciated not only takes your mind off your own troubles, but it lightens the load of another. 

Next time you’re at the store pick up some thank you cards to have on deck. Then when the moment comes you are ready. Don’t think about it, just do it. Either as an active practice of gratitude in the moment or take an hour once a week or month to commit to writing and sending a couple out. 

Read more about the unexpected joy of sending a card here.

  1. Breathwork in Gratitude

When you start to breathe deeply you start to connect to what is real and true in your world. It’s not always what you had in mind but it is always worth your time. Using your breath to breathe in gratitude helps create a cycle of positive energy moving in, through, and out of you. This type of mindful reflection teaches you to accept without judgment. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to accomplish so much and we often forget to slow down and appreciate all that we do. Breathwork is time to sit silently or with a recording that actively reduces stress. 

When you think thoughts of gratitude and appreciation as you take mindful breaths we get the sensation that you are actively inhaling that which we are grateful for. 

Try them for one month!

Give these 3 practices a try. November is a great time to flex your gratitude. Online challenges and games are everywhere this time of year and as we move closer to Thanksgiving we can reflect on good instead of commercial craziness. 

If you are in the Seattle area, I’m hosting 3 90-minute Yin, YogaNidra, and Sound Healing workshops throughout the area the week of Thanksgiving to guide us all into a deep feeling of gratitude to be carried through the holiday season and beyond.