From Chaotic To Coherent – Every Great Leader Needs To Know How
Our podcasts are inspired by the discussions we have and information we collect from travelling the world and carrying out our workshops with individual clients and corporations.
We try to look at what people need when working in high pressure, high performance jobs and have to maintain focus for long periods of time. One of the most common problems for people we’ve met is not having any bandwidth - having lots of tangled ideas that leads to chaotic thinking.
We’re taking a look at how you can go from chaotic to coherent thinking and feeling using just your breath.
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Choosing to improve your energy levels
Starting a project can be a daunting task for anyone, but especially so for business owners, or people in roles of leadership and power. Do you ever feel like there are just so many places you could start, but don’t know where to begin?
You might feel like you need to increase your energy levels to get the project up and running, but need energy just to make the necessary change in the first place. We’ve been there.
A lot of people, including many of the high performers and entrepreneurs we talk to, think they don't have a choice in the matter. They’re so busy it’s easier to say, “I can’t change it”. And it's the same for mom-life. There have been times where I (Angie) have been feeling grumpy, irritable and easily agitated. I used to think that this is just part of life with kids, and would go round in a vicious circle thinking, "I can't get myself out of here because I got myself here”.
Is your body functioning properly?
Using your breath as a way of taking charge isn’t a quick fix. Personal responsibility is the most important factor when it comes to improving your energy levels, thoughts and feelings.
It all starts with your nervous system, particularly your vagus nerve which wanders all around your body and connects your gut to your brain. We find if the body is not happy, whether it be because you’re not moving it enough or aren’t eating right, it will send red alert signals to your brain telling you something isn’t right. When this happens, you could develop anxiety or depressive feelings.
Simply put, these signals to your brain give you the false sense that something’s wrong and it’s ultimately your responsibility to do something about it so you don’t live with ‘functioning anxiety’.
When I (Angie) am feeling irritable, I think about systems and processes I can put in place to support myself and those around me. I speak from personal experience when I say a lifestyle can change by you changing the way you breathe.
Breathing is a behaviour at the end of the day, and the fastest way you can shift your state is by shifting your behaviour.
Quick Start guide to breathing
We have a 7-Step Quick Start guide to breathing that gives you a framework to follow so you can best use your breath - it’s the key to your nervous system. It goes through three basic shapes in your breath that you can use for things like gaining more energy in just three minutes - the square, the circle and the triangle.
You can go from simply being affected by low energy levels, anxiety and depressive feelings to understanding the cause of them.
If we look at our energies as fitting into ‘over-aroused’ (your anxiety and worrying about things in the future like deadlines) or under-aroused’ (feeling depressed or apathetic and low on energy), it’s easier to understand. Basically, all of our energies exist in the past and the future, which is the biggest problem that we see with our clients; they don’t address being present.
How many times have you heard someone say, "You just have to be present"? I (Angie) want to punch them in the face sometimes. It’s a simple concept but it’s not easy to do; it’s something you need to practise and pay attention to because all the juice happens in the present.
Learning to be present
When you're either over-aroused or under-aroused, your personal energy is essentially leaking, stopping you from doing the things or spending time with the people you really want to.
Being present, especially with people, requires a shift in mindset and energy. For example, instead of worrying about our children's future, I (Angie) choose to shift to actually playing with them in the moment and teaching them.
By using the breathing techniques in our guide, you can learn to either down-regulate yourself out of an over-aroused state or up-regulate yourself out of a depressive state to get you into the present. The feeling of energy in your body is the feeling of being present, so it’s a really great way to gauge how you’re feeling.
A lot of the time, people see being present or having energy as an added chore to daily life, something extra they have to do in order to get there. Really it’s about knowing you have a say in how you feel and choosing to change it when you can recognise the symptoms of being off course.
When you start to go off course, you’re going to know, so it’s just about having the energy to course-correct. If you’re way off course, yes, it will be hard work to get back on track, but it’s important to listen to your body to know where you are.
Developing a trigger
To help people move from automatic breathing to manual, we ask them to develop a trigger - a thing you can do to shift your state, whether that be to relax and let go, or inhale and energise yourself.
For me (Angie), it’s as simple as taking a deep breath and letting out a big sigh. I do it when I leave the house, before I start driving, when I’m food shopping - even the woman at the health food shop has noticed this!
The lesson we've learned is that breathing can really help you regulate and control the way you feel. Shift your negative state first and then you’ll have choices to relax if you want to, to energise if you want to, or to enter a meditative state if you want to.
All of these can help you transition from role to role, or from project to project, or from task to task. So we highly recommend that you try our 7-Step Quick Start Program to find out how you can develop your triggers using your breath to start navigating and transitioning through the energy of life.