Sometimes the simplest thing can have the most significant impact. Studies have shown how powerful focusing on your breath can be for improving brain function - among many other health benefits.
I have a card in my work bag which I picked up from a Yoko Ono* exhibition I went to see a few years ago.
One side of the card is blank. On the other side, in tiny letters, Yoko has written: 'breathe'.
If you think you've heard something similar from our Yoko, you'd be right.
In late 1966, John Lennon of The Beatles first met Yoko Ono when he visited her exhibition Unfinished Paintings and Objects at the Indica Gallery in London. According to reports, on entering the gallery space, Lennon was given a card by Ono, much like the one I have. Lennon read it, then allegedly panted for comic effect.
They both went on to become one of the most famous couples of the 20th Century. Simple message. Big impact.
While it sounds frivolous, the card is actually rather powerful.
I forget I have it much of the time, and it seems to find its way into different pockets and places as I move things about. Whenever I find it though, I do just that. Breathe. It always makes things better. Because more often than not, it sparks off a memory, a moment, a thought, a new idea. That is the power of the breath.
We take around 25,000 breaths a day. And we mostly don't think about it.
So I say to you, whatever you're thinking right now, take a long deep breath. In through the nose, hold it for a second. Then SLOWLY exhale, out through the mouth. And make the exhale as long as you possibly can. Without passing out. Then do that two more times. Hell, more if you fancy it.
"Breathe like you love yourself" as YouTube yoga star Adriene Mischler would say.
New thoughts will come. If not, just keep breathing.
Want to know more?
READ: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art Hardcover by James Nestor
WATCH: Patrick McKeown (The Oxygen Advantage) meets James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art.
*If you think you're not a fan of Yoko Ono, it's worth giving her work another shot. A lot of it is infused with a great sense of humour. And love. We could all do with more of that.
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