Focused Breathing: Part 1
"When life feels out of focus, always return to the basic of life....breathing. No breathing, no life!" - Mr. Miyagi
Identify your breathing patterns.
Take notice of how you breathe in different moments throughout the day. I.e., Do you have shallow breaths vs deep breaths, and do you breathe through your nose vs mouth?
Be aware of your emotions as well, like when you are feeling stressed, anxious, excited, or relaxed. E.g., athletes can feel relaxed at practice, and during warmups and drills, while feeling anxious or overly excited before competition.
Lastly, be aware of how your body responds to your emotions. E.g., when a swimmer feels stressed before his race, his shoulders get stiff; when a fencer arrives at her competition venue, her chest gets tight and she feels short of breath; and when a soccer player posts on social media after a match, her neck starts to ache from arching and staring at the screen.
Physical tension in the neck, shoulders, and chest can cause shallow breathing. If you have enough of these moments throughout the day, you can develop the habit of shallow breathing all the time.
Shallow breathing can trigger your emotions, which in turn can activate your fight or flight response (hyper arousal or acute stress response). These moments, feelings, and reactions could be a reason why you perform poorly, have trouble focusing, and don’t feel centered.