- Please use headphones whilst listening to and practicing to this exercise
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed
- Sit comfortable with your arms and legs uncrossed
- You may practice the exercise with eyes open or closed
- You can return to the selected slides, whenever you wish to
- You can download a folder and choose from breath pacers with different soundscapes and music from our Best Future Self website www.bestfutureself.org
This exercise works best if practiced regularly in a rhythm that fits your lifestyle. Practicing it at the same time each day reinforces its effect. Soon after waking and/or before falling asleep can be particularly effective. Don’t try to do the exercises for at least one hour after a main meal.
The Creating Coherence exercise consists of the following parts:
- Activate and maintain a feeling of gratitude
- Breathe slowly and deeply
- Use the breath pacer
- Rescue breath
Let’s start with the exercise. Please sit comfortably with your arms and legs uncrossed to stay in a fully receptive position. Become aware of the ground underfoot and the contact your body makes with your chair.Step 1: Create and sustain the feeling of gratitude
Step 2: Breathe deeply and slowly
- Activate gratitude by imagining for a moment how grateful you are that a desired (future) goal has already become reality.
- Use positive self- talk to describe to yourself, what it looks and feels like to achieve your goal.
- Ask yourself why you feel so grateful for having achieved this goal.
- Once you’ve created the feeling of gratitude, let go of your thoughts and images and hold on to the feeling while breathing slowly and deeply.
- If you lose it, you may focus on recreating it in your thoughts while continuing to breathe slowly and deeply.
- Select a goal, personal or professional, that you’d like to achieve. This goal can be a new personality trait (such as greater compassion toward yourself and others), a health goal, a career advancement, or a material possession.
- Only choose goals you’re confident are achievable and bring no harm to yourself and others. You may start modest and become bolder over time.
- Ask yourself how achieving this goal would be good for you and others, and why.
- Now imagine you’ve already achieved it and feel deep gratitude for your imagined achievement.
- Imagine a concrete life situation that tells you that you’ve achieved your goal.
- Imagine it as if it’s happening right in front of you. Experience the future as if it’s happening now.
- Make sure that any lack of confidence or fear of failure is replaced during your imagination with gratitude for the achieved.
- Now drop your thoughts of your goal and hold on to the feeling of gratitude throughout the exercise. Merge the feeling of gratitude with your deep, slow breathing.
- Once you’ve created the feeling of gratitude, let go of your thoughts and images, and hold on to the feeling while breathing slowly and deeply.
- If you lose the feeling of gratitude, you may focus on recreating it in your thinking and imagination while continuing with the slow, deep breathing.
Step 3: Use the Breath Pacer
- Now breathe deeply and slowly through your nose, gently in and out.
- Breathe from your diaphragm upward, filling about 75% of your lungs with air from the bottom up.
- Breathe into the back and front of your lungs.
- As you inhale, feel your belly expanding and fill your lungs up to 75% with air.
- As you exhale, breathe gently out through your nose as your belly gently contracts. If you can’t breathe through your nose, then breathe gently through your mouth.
- Breathe comfortably and smoothly and don’t force your breath.
- Once you’re comfortable with this breathing process, please start using the audio breath pacer (“Coherence breath pacer”).
The breath pacer consists of two tones:
- When accessing the website to download your breath pacer, you will find three sound files: a breath pacer without music and two sound files with the breath pacer imbedded in soundscapes and music.
- You can choose any of these three files to support your breathing meditation.
A lower tone, ‘C’ which you can hear in your right ear.
A higher tone ‘G’, which you can hear in your left ear.
- When you hear the lower tone ‘C’ in your right ear, inhale.
- When you heart the higher tone ‘G’ in your left ear, exhale.
The breath pacer combines slow, deep pacing at 5.5 breathing cycles per minute with brainwave entrainment at Alpha 10 Hz and Gamma 100 Hz embedded in soundscapes and music.
Using the breath pacer helps immerse you in the experience and lead you into a state of engagement and balance between focus and relaxation. It also enhances the beneficial physiological changes in breathing and heart, autonomic nervous system, and brain activity. It’s a potent training device that you should use for about six weeks, and then it may be beneficial to continue practicing the exercise without it.
Don’t worry if you can’t follow all the instructions instantly. With a little practice, you’ll grow into this meditation and it will become second nature for you.
- Please use headphones when listening to the breath pacer.
- Create the feeling of gratitude through inner self talk and visualisation focusing on an achievable goal.
- Picture yourself having achieve this goal and feel a sense of gratitude or the achieved. Chose something that you are confident you can achieve.
- Once you have created the feeling of gratitude, stop self- talk and visualisation. Hold on to the feeling of gratitude throughout the whole exercise.
- Slow and deepen your breathing. Breathe gently through your nose in and out. Fill your lungs from the diaphragm upward to 75% with air.
- Put your hand on your abdomen above your naval and feel how this area expands with every inhalation and contracts with every exhalation.
- Now listen to the breath pacer and follow the sounds with your breath.
- Inhale when you hear the lower tone in your right ear.
- Exhale when you hear the higher tone in your left ear.
- Follow the breath pacer with your breath for only as long as it feels comfortable. Do not force your breath.
- Should you feel that you struggle, because the pace of the breath pacer feels too slow, then stop following the breath pacer with your breath and follow your own comfortably slow breathing rhythm.
- Keep listening and join in following the breath pacer again whenever it feels right and take a break whenever it feels strained.
- After several days you will find it easy to follow the breath pacer throughout the 15-minute recording.
- Try to maintain the feeling of gratitude throughout the whole breathing exercise and recreate it, should it have
Use the breath pacer for approximately six to eight weeks. Afterward, you’ll be able to practice the whole exercise without any technical help. You can download the breath pacer MP3 files onto your phone from this website (see Breath Pacer')Step 4: Rescue Breath
- You can practice this technique after a distressing experience or to prepare for a challenging event.
- After practicing your exercise daily for a few weeks, your body will remember the physiological state of coherence and you’ll be able to reproduce this physiological state on demand, even in tough situations.
- You’ll then be able to switch from heightened (fight or flight) or reduced (freeze and fold) arousal to a balanced state of coherence.
- You will achieve that just by focusing on your heart and taking three to five diaphragmatic breaths at a pace of about five seconds in and five seconds out.
- For your rescue breath, you won’t need any sound files.
Caution: Do not listen to the audio file and do not practice the relaxation training while driving or operating machinery.Troubleshooting
Don’t worry about being distracted by rising thoughts, feelings, and memories; your exercise will still be effective. Take an interest in these, then send them away and refocus on breathing, gratitude, and your visualization.
You may experience one of the following problems:
- You may lose focus during you training.
Don’t worry. With practice, you’ll find that your capacity to focus increases. The training is still effective even if you’re being distracted as long as you continue with the slow diaphragmatic breathing. Take a brief interest in the distracting thoughts or images, ask them what they want to tell you, then send them away and refocus.
2. You may feel dizzy while practicing Coherence Training.
If you get dizzy, it’s usually because you’re hyperventilating, which is an undesirable effect. Please pause the slow, deep breathing immediately and breathe normally. When you’ve returned to your usual self, restart the training, but breathe less deeply by filling your lungs with less air during the paced breathing cycle.
3. During your training, you may experience some discomfort around your heart or some mild palpitations
This is usually temporary, no major problem, and will stop soon. But if it persists, you may have to stop and/or seek advice from your health professional. It’s usually a sign of temporary psycho-physical release.
Caution: Palpitations that are too slow or too fast, or irregular heartbeat combined with dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath are signs of a medical emergency and require immediate attention. This condition can develop entirely independent of the training, but in rare cases may coincide with it.
4. You may struggle to follow the slow pace of the breath pacer.
If the pace of the sounds is initially too slow for your liking, follow it with your breathing rhythm only for as long as it feels comfortable. Then pause and follow your own breathing rhythm, listening to the tones only, until you’re ready to follow the breath pacer with your breathing again. You may alternate for a few days until you feel comfortable following the pace throughout the session.Tips for Practicing Coherence Training 1. Be patient.
As you practice this exercise, it helps to try to remain focused and present. Over time, you’ll become more and more skilled at maintaining and deepening your focus and relaxation. Be patient with yourself and try to avoid being too goal-oriented with this exercise.
Right away, you’ll feel great relief from stress and from the effects of negative emotions when practicing these exercises, but the impact of deep-seated problems on your health and performance may take time to improve or resolve. 2. Set limits.
Don’t practice this exercise for more than 15 minutes at a time. Practicing it for 15 minutes at the same time every night and/or morning for six weeks is likely to create a permanent positive effect.3. Proceed slowly.
During this breathing exercise, at first you may experience feelings, such as mild dizziness. These are often a sign that your perception of your body is changing or coming into sharper focus. Take things slowly and open your eyes during the exercise to regain control and ease the sensations. Most of these sensations are short-lived and tend to disappear entirely with practice.
Some disturbing feelings can also arise, such as fear and anxiety, which may have been previously suppressed. At times, memory images or imaginative pictures can surface as a result of the relaxation process. You may feel sensations of floating and physical weightlessness, increased circulation (warmth), or pins and needles. These feelings are usually mild and transient. They mean that you need to proceed very slowly, gradually adapting to the new psychological and physical experiences. All of these experiences will stop when the exercise ends.
If you notice any dizziness as you practice this breathing technique, try to breathe less deeply—this will stop any signs of hyperventilation.
If you need to, take a break. Don’t force any exercise unless it feels natural to you. Perform these exercises gently, and don’t put yourself under any pressure. 4. Be relaxed, but alert.
Initially, it’s good to do the exercises in a sitting position so you won’t fall asleep. But you can also do them standing or lying down, depending on your alertness at the moment and what feels right for you. The aim is to achieve a state of awareness between focus and relaxation.
You may keep your eyes open during the exercise or close them—whichever feels better and more appropriate.
Don’t be concerned if you’re distracted by any thoughts or memories as you practice this exercise. You may intentionally focus on any randomly appearing thoughts, memories, or images for a while. Give them your undivided attention, then send them away and refocus on your breathing, your heart, and your body periphery.
As you practice every evening and every morning, you’ll find it easy to establish this state of focused relaxation at will before, during, and after challenging events during the day.
By focusing on slowing and deepening your breathing and alternating your focus rhythmically between heart and periphery with every breath, you can change the way you respond to challenging situations within a few seconds. This will lead to lower stress levels and sharper performance when the going gets tough.
5. Make practicing these exercises fun
This is time with and for yourself, and it will benefit your health, your work, and your private life. Coherence Training is not primarily a relaxation exercise; it’s a powerful balancing exercise that enhances focus and relaxation and is calming and energizing at the same time.When to practice and how often
Coherence Training reduces the impact of stress and enhances heart rate variability to improve health and performance.
Coherence Training can be helpful
- Before, during, and after challenging situations.
- When you feel anxious, angry, stressed, or down.
- Upon waking to help set the tone for the day.
- Before going to sleep (to help wind down and let go).
- Before an athletic performance (to reduce performance anxiety).
We encourage you to do the training once a day or more, if possible. And after a while, you can practice Coherence Training without the breath trainer: focus on slow, deep breathing and on feeling a positive emotion to replace the sounds.Excerpt from the book: Manifesting Your Best Future Self. Developing Health, Happiness and success. Kindle and Amazon.Caution: Do not listen to the audio file and do not practice the relaxation training while driving or operating machinery.Get your Paperback or eBook on Amazon: USA UK CA