If you’re like me you probably spend hours and hours dreaming, thinking, wishing… and then I never take a single step toward making things happen.
I have a tonne of chores backed up and twenty other habits I’d like to start doing but I just don’t seem to be able to move my feet in the direction of getting things done.
That was until recently when I came up with this super easy technique for preparing yourself to take action.
We’ve all heard that breathing techniques can be used to calm anxiety or help you relax, but did you know you can also use breathing to rev yourself up?
I recently wrote about a breathing technique that can increase behavioural arousal. Basically, while slow or deep breathing has been used for a long time to generate calmness, the opposite works as well.
Rapid breathing produces signals in your brain which prepare your body for action.
Take a deep breath filling your lungs right down to the stomach. Now your brain is well oxygenated and you feel more relaxed. Exhale every last bit of air from your lungs then take five quick short breaths, like panting. You should notice your heart rate increase and your limbs feel poised for action.
Immediately stand up and move toward the thing you want to be doing, with the mindful intention of doing it and letting yourself feel some praise and warmth for taking action toward your goal.
Well done you!
There are two elements to this short exercise that make it work so well. The first is the physical preparation of your body for action – increased heart rate and blood flow to your brain and all your limbs.
The second element is the immediate self -reward when you start moving toward action, the conscious praise and warmth you give yourself just for starting what you’re about to do. Often we drag our feet through tasks and the whole time we’re creating a negative experience of it, which makes it more difficult each time you go back to get yourself to repeat the chore. Using a simple immediate self reward, just a positive thought or feeling, creates positive feedback in your brain that will make it easier to do it again next time.
This is the only method that works every time for getting me out of bed when it’s too nice and snug there to leave!