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Performing Under Pressure: Gaining the Mental Edge in Business and Sport by Saul L Miller

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Chapter 6. RHYTHM

Rhythm is one of the organizing forces of the universe. It creates order out of chaos. An effective way to regulate your emotions and to empower yourself is by tuning into the rhythm of your breath. Do you ever try too hard, especially when you really want to make something happen and notice that you're holding your breath, rushing yourself, and tensing up? That's when we slip out of our natural rhythm. We become anxious, impatient, and less effective. At such times, it's helpful to tune into the rhythm of the breath and remember, "The waves never rush."

The new Dodgers pitcher was feeling the pressure of all that was expected of him. The fact that he grew up in southern California and was finally realizing his childhood dream of playing for the Dodgers made matters even more intense. "When I'm out there, it's as if my mind is running faster than my body," he said.

To integrate the two, I suggested he tune into the rhythm of his breath. "Your breath is like waves in the ocean," I told him. "Just as the waves never rush, don't rush your breath. As you breathe, give yourself time for your inbreath to come all the way in. And give yourself time for the outbreath to go all the way out. You deserve your time."

He tuned into his breathing rhythm. He felt the inbreath come all the way in. He followed the outbreath all the way out. Almost immediately he began to feel more balanced and at ease.

I explained that the fastest way out of disintegration and disease is by tuning ...

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