There’s a lot of information out there at the moment about living in the present moment. I know - we’re writing some of it!
Mindfulness is incredibly important when it comes to presenting and public speaking. Experiencing your emotions, anxieties and feelings, your increased heart rate – it’s all crucial when you’re about to take the spotlight.
But don’t worry. You don’t need to read acres of literature or attend weeks of courses to get the secret of being present. We’re here to help you learn how to manage your nerves; and it’s all down to belly breathing.
Belly breathing for beginners
By breathing deeply using your diaphragm, and focusing your attention on your breath, you will be more present. It’s totally natural - we all did it as babies and toddlers – and it will help you manage those anxious moments at the start of your presentation.
Being in your body also provides you with the space to truly listen to yourself and your audience’s response to what you are saying. You will connect better with your audience and will be more able to think on your feet.
Some belly breathing exercises
Next time you have a few free minutes, do the following Be in the Body exercise:
Sit comfortably or stand in a neutral position.
Starting from the top of your head, move your awareness slowly down through your body, noticing and releasing any tension.
Lay one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest, so you can notice where your breath is. When we sit or stand, our habit is to breathe up in the chest.
If you have trouble feeling the breath in the belly, imagine you’re breathing through a straw. Try inhaling through your nose.
You can also experiment with filling your entire lung capacity, breathing into both the belly and the chest. Imagine your inhalation is like filling a glass with water, beginning from the bottom – the lowest part of the belly – and filling to the top – the top of the chest. Once you have taken this very big breath in, try letting it out on a big sigh of relief.
Finally, return to your regular breathing, just noticing the rise and fall of the belly with your breath
The perfect excuse to lie down!
The best way to become a natural belly-breather is to undertake a two to three-week daily practice. Since it’s easiest to tune into belly breathing when lying down, take two minutes before you go to sleep at night – and when you wake up in the morning – with your hands placed on your belly and on your chest, doing the exercise above. After a couple of weeks, you will notice yourself more naturally breathing this way as you go about your day.
You can then integrate this into your breathing just before you present and whilst you’re presenting.
Belly breathe and do your best
Sir Winston Churchill said: “It is a mistake to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”
Being in your body is being present. Don’t look too far ahead. Just belly breathe and do your best.
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