#20 How to Stop Thinking

The #1 Tip on How to Master this Important Lost Art

Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading experts on optimal breathing.

When I interviewed him recently, he made a very interesting point. He said that we spend all our lives in school learning how to think but that we’re never taught how to STOP thinking.

Fact is, most of our “thinking” isn’t thinking at all. We’re simply looping the same unproductive thought over and over again.

Get this: According to a study done at USC, the average person has 70,000 thoughts per day. And, according to some experts, 80-90% of those thoughts are useless.

That’s crazy. (Literally.)

It’s also really enervating. We waste a ton of energy spinning our mental wheels—creating more stress and anxiety and fatigue while diminishing our performance and well-being. (Not a winning combination.)

So, learning how to STOP thinking is a very important skill.

Patrick’s #1 tip on how to master the art of not thinking?


Specifically, breathe through your nose. Deeply (but lightly!) into your diaphragm.

(One of Patrick’s Big Ideas we’ll talk about more in another +1 is the fact that we all breathe way too much—which, paradoxically, decreases the amount of oxygen released into our cells.)

For now: Breathe through your nose. Deeply. Yet lightly.

And, ahhhhh…

Our mind has slowed down. All that wasted energy is recouped.

btw: Two other ways to stop that mental chatter? Put your attention on your body = #2. And the final tip from Patrick? Immerse yourself in the present moment.

Let’s think productively when it’s appropriate to do so. And then get really good at turning the brain off.

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