Get the key ideas from

Do Breathe

Calm Your Mind. Find Focus. Get Stuff Done.

By Michael Townsend Williams
15-minute read
Audio available
Do Breathe by Michael Townsend Williams

Do/Breathe (2015) is a calming antidote to the stressors of contemporary life, offering a simple guide to cultivating balance, honing focus, and learning to be present. Do/Breathe takes you right back to life’s basics – like breathing, eating, and sleeping – to show how adjusting fundamental practices, habits, and mindsets can produce positive, lasting change in your life. 

  • Busy professionals who never seem to reach the end of their to-do lists
  • Dreamers whose fear holds them back from chasing their goals
  • Multitaskers who want to juggle their roles and responsibilities without losing equilibrium

Michael Townsend is an author, entrepreneur, and an expert at managing stress through mindfulness. Once a high-powered advertising exec, he’s now a yoga teacher, mindfulness coach, and well-being advocate. Townsend is committed to helping others find calm and focus, through his BreatheSync app and his mindfulness coaching.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,500+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Do Breathe

Calm Your Mind. Find Focus. Get Stuff Done.

By Michael Townsend Williams
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Do Breathe by Michael Townsend Williams
Synopsis

Do/Breathe (2015) is a calming antidote to the stressors of contemporary life, offering a simple guide to cultivating balance, honing focus, and learning to be present. Do/Breathe takes you right back to life’s basics – like breathing, eating, and sleeping – to show how adjusting fundamental practices, habits, and mindsets can produce positive, lasting change in your life. 

Key idea 1 of 9

Managing stress can be as simple as optimizing your breathing.

From missed trains to financial worries, constantly pinging mobile phones to disturbing news headlines, we all have different stressors that can set us off. But our bodies react to stress in the same way, by releasing the hormone cortisol into the bloodstream, which increases heart rate and blood pressure.

Stress is complex, but reducing the physical symptoms of it can be as simple as breathing in and out. When you’re stressed your breathing is rapid and shallow. When you’re relaxed, you breathe well, taking longer, slower breaths. 

But your breathing isn’t just a reflection of your mental state – it can actively change that state, too.

Mimicking relaxed breathing tricks the body into thinking you actually are relaxed. What’s more, drawing long slow breaths for 60 seconds is enough to rid the bloodstream of the stress hormone cortisol entirely.

Does that mean you have to learn to breathe well? Not quite. You were born with the ability to breathe like this. You might just need to remember it.

Have you ever seen a baby breathing? She inhales through her nose, and fills her belly with breath. Then she exhales through her nose for longer than the length of her inhale. There's a reason for this. Nose hairs filter the air, making the nose the best breathing organ. And a long exhale stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes rest and digestion. 

Now ask yourself, are you breathing like a baby? 

Let’s work on that. The first step is to pay attention to your breathing in different contexts. Get to know your breathing. It’s as unique as you are! When you know your breathing, you can learn to recognize the onset of stress and anxiety and calm yourself before your body and mind hit the panic button.

So how can you breathe like a baby again?

Breathe in and out through your nose. Fill your belly and diaphragm with each breath. This will help center you and give you a sense of calm control. Breathe out for longer than you breathe in. 

Why don’t you take a few deep breaths before you move on to the next blink? You might find that you’re feeling more focused and less overwhelmed already.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.