5 tips with focus to keep breathing

9 January 2017

What happens to your breathing if you are concentrating fully on what you are doing? Being wholly focused on a work activity, especially one that requires mental concentration, can have an impact on your breathing, which usually becomes more shallow. At the end of a day full of (mental) work you will start to notice that your energy is low and you feel tired. In the long term, this has a negative effect on your health.

Five tips to keep breathing while you work:

• Before you start with an activity, pay attention to how you are breathing and how your body feels, and become aware of any sensations in your body;
• When you start doing an activity which requires focus, e.g. answering your emails, practice breathing deeply while you open, read and answer one email. Notice the result. If, on the other hand, your work involves a lot of contact with clients, try consciously breathing in and out more deeply than usual while you are listening to the other person;
• Your concentration level will rise if you move around regularly, especially if you sit or stand in the same position for a long time. Try doing some stretches to give your muscles an oxygen boost.
• Tip for right now…Carry on breathing deeply while you read one of my clients’ stories below. Ilona describes the effects of her work on her body and what happened after a session.

“I sometimes feel oppressed during my work. Jessica and I literally mimicked my work situation during a session to find out why. I sat down the way I sit when I look through the viewfinder of my camera. Jessica asked me to move the way I move when I am working. I often experience my camera as a straightjacket. The lens acts as a huge restriction on my consciousness because, when I look through it, my whole reality is only image. I no longer feel any connection, I only see it. During the mimicking, I recognized the distaste I often feel under those circumstances.

Jessica taught me to maintain contact with my body and my surroundings even when I am looking through the viewfinder. It’s partly a matter of breathing better. I often use slow shutter speeds. Any movement can cause blurring, which used to make me hold my breath.

Jessica also gave me two exercises to help me break away from my conditioned work methods. The first was to try taking photos with my other eye. The second, to take them without a tripod and move through the space while looking through the viewfinder all the time. The exercises taught me a lot. Taking photos with the other eye literally helped me to see my surroundings in a new way. Observing was now a little uncomfortable, but also lively and exciting.

What I like about this way of working is learning to recognize a feeling of which I had been unaware. I now know what it’s like to look through the viewfinder without that feeling of depression.

The second exercise, looking and moving at the same time, made me realize that I really can do two things at once. That I don’t have to shut down one activity to do another. I could observe and maintain contact with my surroundings as long as I switched my focus from one to the other at regular intervals. Switching between holding on and letting go, between concentrating on one point and letting it go so that I could concentrate on a feeling in my body. And vice versa. The exercise was very instructive.

The key thing for me is that I now know how to broaden my awareness. That thinking and doing are two different things, but they are both generated by one organism.

I have made some important changes in my work as a result of these insights. I try to keep the space round the subject clear for as long as possible and I take the first photos without a tripod. This makes looking for the right angle a lot more intuitive and playful. It is only when I experience a sense of things magically falling into place that I work out the image in more detail and set up the lamps and the tripod. It is very liberating!”

What effects of breathing without pauses have you noticed? You might feel some tiny movements and tingling in your head. That is a healthy sign. Give those brain cells oxygen, it’s good for them!

Do you do a lot with your head during the day and less with the rest of your body? Would you like to experience what changes a session can help bring about? Make an appointment for an introductory session (90 minutes) for € 90.

Or would you prefer to speak on the phone first? I am offering all new clients a free 30 minute telephone session. Just send me an email to make the appointment.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm greetz,

Jessica Versluijs
(0031) 6 22726858