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Try This One-Minute Breathing Exercise to Instantly Calm Your Mind

  • Learn how your brain is hardwired to skew towards negative thoughts, and why practicing gratitude helps.
  • Gain insights from Omar Brownson, an Optimist Instructor, successful entrepreneur, civic leader, and expert in gratitude and mindfulness. 
  • Omar reveals step-by-step instructions for his helpful, one-minute breathing exercise to calm your mind.

Are you stressed out these days? You’re hardly alone. In fact, if you believe the folks at Bloomberg, the single biggest unifying force in America right now is our collective stress level

According to LA-based entrepreneur, civic leader, and Optimist Instructor Omar Brownson (who is also one of the most trusted authorities on the subject of gratitude and mindfulness), there are plenty of effective ways you can better cope with your stress on a day-to-day basis. He details them all in “The Gratitude Class,” which you can access in The Optimism Library. But we took the liberty of laying out his go-to one-minute breathing exercise for chilling out that you can try at work—or anywhere else—below.

The Importance of Gratitude

Omar categorizes gratitude as a critical lens through which we can view our experiences in a more positive light. He explains, “If meditation helps us notice each breath, and mindfulness helps us notice change, then gratitude helps us notice good.”

Our brains naturally skew towards negativity. For whatever reason, stress and negativity tend to stack up and store in our thoughts. Gratitude acts as an essential counterbalance. Omar describes it as “an antidote to that negative orientation,” which is vital for emotional well-being and resilience.

This mindset isn’t just about ignoring the negative but rather about recalibrating our focus to appreciate the positive, thereby “rewiring our brains and even rewilding our hearts.” Practicing gratitude should not only be recognizing good but also fostering an environment where positive emotions are triggered more readily than negative ones.

Step-by-Step Breathing Exercise to Cultivate Gratitude

Here’s Omar’s simple yet profound breathing exercise to help individuals anchor themselves in the present moment and foster gratitude. Below is a guided walkthrough from Omar’s class on how to conduct this practice. And the best part? It only needs to take a minute or two:

1. Get Comfortable

“I invite you to get comfortable in a way that works for you. Whether you want to close your eyes or just gently rest them away from the screen, find a position that allows you to feel at ease.”

2. Notice Your Breath

“We’re just going to take a few moments to notice our breath. Notice the seat that is holding us. Notice our feet on the ground.”

3. Focus on the Details of Breathing

“With each breath, maybe bring some attention to where you feel it entering. Maybe you feel it in your nostrils, your throat, your chest, or your belly. And maybe focus on the exhale. Do you feel the heat of the exhale in your nose?”

4. Awareness of Tension

“Bring some attention to your body. Notice your shoulders wherever there might be some tension. No need to do anything about it. Just bring some awareness to it.”

5. Heart Awareness

“The last place we’re going to bring some awareness to is just our hearts. Notice, is it beating fast? Beating slow? Does it have a feeling attached to it?”

6. Return to the Room

“As this last breath invites you to bring your attention back into the room, I came to this space. And open your eyes when you’re ready.”

This practice is designed to slow down the mind, allowing you to shift from a state of doing to a state of being. It’s not just about relaxation but about cultivating an acute awareness of the present, which is crucial for gratitude.

Omar’s perspective on gratitude goes beyond simple thankfulness. It’s a practice that can profoundly affect our emotional and psychological health, helping us to navigate the complexities of life with a more positive, resilient outlook on the days to come.

Use this quick breathing exercise at the point in your day when you feel the most stressed. 

For more, check out The Optimism Library

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Buy Unleash Your Infinite Mindset and The Art of Building Fiercely Loyal Customers together for only $1,198.

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