Continuing our Optimal Breathing theme, here’s a little gem from Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct.
I’ll let her take over…
She tells us: “You won’t find many quick fixes in this book, but there is one way to immediately boost willpower: Slow your breathing down to four to six breaths per minute. That’s ten to fifteen seconds per breath—slower than you normally breathe, but not difficult with a little bit of practice and patience. Slowing the breath down activates the prefrontal cortex and increases heart rate variability, which helps shift the brain and body from a state of stress to self-control mode. A few minutes of this technique will make you feel calm, in control, and capable of handling cravings or challenges.”
Kelly tells us there aren’t a lot of quick fixes in life (or in her book), but science says this is one.
The next time you feel your willpower getting a little depleted and you’re about to do something silly, NOTICE!! (always Step 1) and simply step back and slow down your breathing.
In the process, you’ll flip the switch to self-control.
Right now if you’re feeling it! Take a nice, deep breath (following our three rules of Nose + Belly + Exhale, of course)! See if you can get yourself down to 4 to 6 breaths per minute—which, you might notice, is super-close to our 3.5 to 5 breaths per minute we talked about in our Resonant Breathing +1.
3 minutes is 15 breaths.
It’s also magical.
Try it now if you can. And the next time you need it.
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