5 Key Takeaways from ‘Breathing Under Fire: Optimise Your Leadership Skills’

5 key takeaways from our talk with Dr. Belisa Vranich

We had a unique conversation on managing anxiety and panic, regulating adrenaline, improving endurance and conditioning, and effectively fighting fatigue. Being a modern leader in the last 3 years comes with higher expectations and harsher conditions: it is no longer just about being strong and motivating teams. Breathing under fire is about the ability to enhance leadership skills and empathy when the external world seems to be out of control.

We had the pleasure of having Dr. Belisa Vranich join us at this event. Dr. Belisa is a US clinical psychologist, author, public speaker, and founder of The Breathing Class. She has extensive experience working with first responders: firefighters, military, and law enforcement for topics related to endurance, stress reduction, precision, pain reduction, and PTSD.

1. We can see the strength of a leader by their ability to relax.

The breath is connecting a leader. 

“If you are a leader and you are confident and your breath is relaxed, you emanate positivity and it makes you feel like a better leader.”

Dr. Dr. Belisa Vranich

In that case, you have access to more of your intuition.

2. How can leaders take care of themselves? Take short breaks. 

One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to take very short breaks to Interrupt the stress–also known as ITS. Whenever you have several seconds, scan your body and take a good breath. Not all breaths are ones that relax us. So take a breath that is actually physiologically relaxing. 

“You will feel better by the end of the day because you are not holding your body in a tense place throughout the day without respite.”

Dr. Dr. Belisa Vranich

3. Physiologically relaxing breaths start with full exhales and continue as diaphragmatic breaths.

Start with an active exhale where you actually squeeze your body in, and use your abs to get all the air out. Now, you can actually take a deep inhale. A study found that when people exhale only 70%, they actually get more anxious. We need to take those few seconds to exhale completely and then inhale. When you do this, the inhale will actually be a deeper breath. 

“Make sure to also do a diaphragmatic breath so it calms the nervous system. Everything around you will then slow down.”

Dr. Dr. Belisa Vranich

4. Good breathwork practices help clear the brain. 

A good breath or breathwork practice will clear your brain. Your brain sits in a liquid called cerebral spinal fluid. This fluid flushes out of your body three to five times a day on the inhale. If you inhale and breathe well, you might get this flush five or six times a day. Breathing well can actually clean out your brain in this sense. 

5. A bag of rice might help you sleep better. 

We can have trouble sleeping at night because we are “on” the whole day. At night, our bodies cannot “switch off.” How can we sleep better? First of all, turn off all your technology at least an hour before bed. Putting on earplugs can also help. Next, put a small bag of rice (or anything that can fit the form of your belly) on top of your belly. On the inhale, take that belly breath and push the rice away. On the exhale, let the bag of rice fall. When you are on your back. This works physiologically because you are now lying down and breathing diaphragmatically, which relaxes you. You are also controlling your breath and breathing slowly, which also relaxes you. 

We hope you learned a few things about breathing and take that into your daily life!


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