Concluding this edition of our breathing series, let’s talk about the fact that BREATH CONTROL = SELF-CONTROL.
You know how elite performers ALL (!!!) center themselves for the peak performances?
Their breath. Period.
Navy SEALs in the chaos of war? Check.
NBA stars at the line before a game-winning free throw? Yep.
4th graders before crushing a test? Yep. If they’ve been coached!
YOU before you do __________________. Yep. That’s like you to breathe like a Pro.
Here’s how former Navy SEAL Commander, author and entrepreneur (and all-around good human) (and Optimizer!!) Mark Divine puts it in his must-read mental toughness handbook Unbeatable Mind: “In a crunch situation, I recommend you collapse your concentration to your breathing while maintaining relaxed awareness of the surroundings. Breathing deeply will greatly reduce the stress, slow your heart rate, and bring your nervous system back into balance. The mind will remain focused as your body comes back into balance. Then you can make better decisions in the midst of the chaos, danger, or the debilitating effect of fear. This is why breath awareness and control is the number one tool for Unbeatable Mind students who challenge themselves and push the envelope. But it is equally effective to enhance your performance in the boardroom. The level of control over your physiology and psychology I am talking about must be practiced and habituated until it becomes a routine skill.”
Plus: “To say that learning breath control is the most important component to forging mental toughness would not be an overstatement.”
Then we have another leading peak performance guru, Jim Loehr. Here’s how he puts it in Breathe In, Breathe Out: “The key to emotional control is breath control. Breath control is the ultimate weapon. It is the simplest, safest, cheapest, most accessible handle there is for mastering emotional control, for recharging the Ideal Performance State in response to problems, for staying in control, for becoming a peak performer. Breath control is the force that leads to the emotional control that leads to the winning feat.”
The next time you feel yourself getting wobbly or getting excited before a big moment or maybe a little impatient with a loved one or… BREATHE.
Remember: “Breath control is the force that leads to the emotional control that leads to the winning feat.”
One more nice, deep breath. Exhale with a smile.
Let’s win today.