Breathe in. Breathe out.

Breathing is considered the most important of bodily tasks that our body involuntarily performs everyday of every second of our lives. Right from the time we are born till the time we die – we breathe. We attach the such a great deal of significance to this activity. The first and most obvious method of verifying life is to check if the person is breathing. We feel extremely uneasy when underwater and it forces us to struggle to find breathable air above water. That deep breath we take in when we find that air of life! It makes us feel alive!

Breathe in. Breathe out.

While we attach such a great deal of significance to this simple, involuntary activity of breathing, the benefits of being aware of breathing are grossly undervalued. When I say undervalued, I mean we barely attribute any importance to it, we rarely understand the true benefits of it (other than verifying life itself). I connect with a lot of entrepreneurs on a daily basis. For that lot, I think this mindfulness is crucial. The stress they go through while attempting rather fundamental questions of their business is surprising. While you may disagree, I attribute that stress to lack of awareness of breathing. Entrepreneurs just vomit out the first thing that comes to their mind, not caring if what they’re saying makes any logical sense to the listener. It’s not a stressful situation. It becomes a stressful situation in your head when you become unaware of your breathing. Through this post I hope to make you, especially if you’re an entrepreneur, aware of your breathing by highlighting its benefits. Would be great to here your views.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Be Aware of Your Breathing

The benefits I’ve seen of being aware of your breathing are as follows:

  1. Better Posture: We all spend a ton of time at our desks. While standing desks have made their way through offices in the US, in India we will still wonder what our neighbour will think of us (#Facepalm). The ill effects of sitting long hours has even been likened to that of smoking. Not cool. So if we spend so much time seated at our desks, we might as well do it right. Being aware of your breathing helps you do just that. It helps me. Every time I take cognizance of my breathing, I tend to sit upright. It’s a very small and inexpensive method to higher productivity for longer hours.
  2. Lazer Sharp Concentration and Focus: I’ve done this more often than once. Just making a concentrated effort of being aware of my breathing and forcing a couple of deep breathes really helps in a productive, power half hour. The effect doesn’t last too long (at least for me) but making that conscious effort to be aware, every time, really helps attain that surge of alertness to concentrate on whatever it is I’m doing at that moment
  3. Better Decisions: I’ve realised, being aware of my breathing has helped me make better, more informed decisions. Especially in situations of high risk with a short time for decision making. I’m sure there is a science behind this though I cannot say quote any research papers. I’ve honestly not researched enough. For the kind of work I do, where you have to constantly think at the edge of your brain and make snappy decisions, I’ve seen the effect “being aware of my breathing” has had on my decision making. Probably the phrase “Think twice before you leap once” can be rephrased to “Breathe before you decide”.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Each of the above benefits of simply being aware of your breathing are interlinked with each other. Think about it – being aware of your breathing helps you maintain a better posture. A better posture helps you concentrate better and longer on work. Lastly, that better and longer concentration on work helps you take better decisions. I know right!

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Trust me, practicing this simple act everyday with conscious effort can make HUGE difference to your life. For entrepreneurs this is a blessing waiting to be exploited. This is not exhaustive of the benefits of awareness can have on a stronger control over your brain. I’m still exploring the full benefits of this and will continue to do so. It is so reassuring to know that such a powerful trick is available to me without any extra effort in terms of both time and cost.

Try it. Hopefully if you’ve reached this far in the post, you will have taken five deep, conscious breathes (one more coming right up). Let me know what you think of this trick.

Breath in. Breathe out.


Also published on Medium.