Attitude Breathing is a tool that helps you synchronize the nervous system activity in your entire body. By using this tool regularly, you gradually build the power to make attitude shifts that last. Attitude Breathing will restructure your emotions and re-pattern your neural circuitry and hormonal responses so you can change long-standing unproductive attitudes, including those you are not even consciously aware of.
Many people have grumbles and gripes running as background noise behind their thoughts. This makes the day look bleak, like a black-and-white movie, instead of colorful, vibrant, and filled with rich texture. Attitude Breathing will help you clear out these old gripes and negative undercurrents so you can minimize the stress hormones running through your system and gain access to the feel-good hormones that keep you feeling vibrant.
• Attitude Breathing Tool
Focus on the heart as you breathe in (as you learned to do in the Quick
Coherence technique). As you breathe out, focus on your solar plexus.
Practice breathing in through the heart and out through the solar plexus for thirty seconds or longer to help anchor your energy and attention there. Next, select a positive feeling or attitude (try appreciation, for example) to breathe in through the heart and out through the solar plexus for another thirty seconds (or longer).
Once you feel the appreciation, lock in the feeling of that positive attitude. Now, as you breathe, visualize building and storing the positive energy that the feeling of appreciation gives you. Practice breathing that appreciation for a few minutes.
Select attitudes to breathe that will help offset the negative emotion or imbalance of the situation you are in. Breathe deeply, with the intent of shifting to the feeling of that attitude. You can breathe two attitudes, if you’d like. For example, you can breathe in an attitude of balance and breathe out an attitude of forgiveness, or you can breathe in an attitude of love and breathe out an attitude of compassion.
Using Attitude Breathing
Practice different attitudes you want to develop. You can tell yourself, “Breathe courage,” “Breathe ease,” “Breathe forgiveness,” “Breathe neutral,” or whatever attitude you need. Even if you can’t feel the attitude shift at first, making a genuine and earnest effort to shift will at least help you get to a neutral state. In neutral, you have more objectivity and you save energy.
Attitude Breathing is especially handy during highly charged situations. The tool combines the power of the heart and gut to enable you to shift emotion and physiology right in the middle of a strong reaction. The heart is the most powerful rhythmic oscillator in the body, so it pulls the body’s other rhythms into synchronization with its own. Your power to make attitude adjustments will build fast as you use Attitude Breathing in the middle of a reaction or disagreement.
When you first try Attitude Breathing in a charged situation, it can feel like you’re going against the grain or against what you know about the situation. You may have to apply earnest effort against resistance. During strong reactions, you may need to breathe the new attitude earnestly for two or three minutes before your nerves quiet down and you experience a shift. Do it for the sake of creating coherence. Do it for yourself. Have a genuine “I mean business” attitude to really move those emotions into a more coherent state and shift your physiology.
• Use your notebook to write down unproductive attitudes you know you have and more positive attitudes you wish you had. Now think of that nemesis in your life or that person who gets your goat or has been a problem for you. Consider what attitudes might help you stay in more coherence when you’re around that person. Pick one or two and use them in Attitude Breathing.
Simply focus in the area of your heart while breathing those feelings or attitudes. Try attitudes opposite from what you’ve been feeling—for example, love and appreciation if you’ve been feeling animosity and resentment. Breathe the feelings of love and appreciation in through the heart as best you can, then breathe them out through the solar plexus area. Imagine love and appreciation flowing in and out with your breath until you find an easy rhythm with it. Don’t worry about whether you are doing it right. Just look for the rhythm. Practice this genuinely and earnestly for thirty seconds or longer. Then stop and note what you perceive and feel. The shift might be subtle, but you will probably be more balanced about the situation.