Martha Beck is a big believer in teeny tiny turtle steps. This, she says, is the most powerful way to transform. “If you’re not getting there fast enough,” she’s been known to say, ” take smaller steps.”
This is exactly the opposite of what every thing in me is saying when I feel behind.
When I feel behind, I want to hurry, race, make up for lost time.
I feel tense, annoyed, worried, competitive, self-recriminating.
I feel that something’s gone wrong. I ought to be farther ahead, farther along.
Or I feel that the truth of my inadequacy has been revealed. See, I can’t do it. I’m not (fill in the blank) material. OR, I may have been (fill in the blank) material had I started months or years or decades ago.
I don’t know about you, but when I feel behind and tense, I’m far less effective and efficient. I get clumsy. I drop things and forget things and bump into things. I shut my finger in the door or slam my leg into my dresser drawer that I’ve not closed all the way because I guess I’m trying to make up for lost time?
It’s not rational.
Even though everything in me is railing against the idea, what I need to do is STOP.
All of modern neuroscience tells us that ten deep breaths can change our brain state.
Actually change it. Measurably.
Now, the only other thing I feel less like doing when I feel behind (besides slowing down) is breathing.
It can be incredibly annoying to be told to breathe when I’m tense. Even when it’s said in good faith. Suddenly I’m like, WHY DON’T YOU BREATHE IF YOU LOVE IT SO MUCH.
But really, being reminded to stop and breathe is no different than someone letting me know the door I’m trying to push open is a pull door.
When we change our brain state, we change our emotional state which changes the way we feel which then changes how we act and interact with the world.
It’s amazing. And simple. And free.
There’s not one product you need to try or one pound you need to lose or one make-up product you need to own.
Air is free and every human model comes with a built-in breathing program.
So, next time you feel behind, try stopping long enough to take 10 deep breathes. On average, that’s 4 breaths per minute–a total of less than 3 minutes.
Seems too easy. Change your life in three minutes a day! But what if it’s true?
What have you got to lose? Just three minutes, it seems.