Boatloads of exciting behind-the-scenes things are taking place as we—publisher, publicist, and author—ramp up for the November 1 release of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path for Gratitude and Growth. It’s exhilarating. One might even say, breathless.

With this in mind, Crystal—my publicist at BookSparks—sent me a visible reminder to breathe. In turn, I’m sharing a breathing exercise from Note to Self that has never failed to produce calm for me:


  • Place a hand on your lower belly to ensure that you’re breathing past your chest.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose while mentally counting to 4.
  • Hold that breath for a mental count of 7.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth while mentally counting to 8. Notice that the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation.
  • Pause briefly, without inhaling, and then start another round. This natural pause is therapeutic and relaxing.
  • Once you’ve established a rhythm, identify a replacement attitude. Imagine that with each inhalation, you’re breathing in the color orange and the feeling of that new attitude—increasing joy.
  • When you exhale, imagine that you’re releasing the toxins associated with the unwanted emotion—offloading baggage.
  • Repeat for several minutes, drawing the orange breath and replacement feeling down into your lower belly to anchor the new feeling.

When was the last time you focused on your breath?


55 thoughts on “Breathe

  1. Good advice, Laurie. I started doing yoga breathing exercises many years ago to help me sleep and I still do it now from time to time. It really works, but I imagine a quiet beach in the sunset and listen to the waves lapping on the shore: it works for me. 👍

  2. I actually focus on my breath quite often. Usually at the end of spin classes, I’ll inhale all positive things, and exhale all negative. I’ve also done similar exercises to the one you describe. I’ve never consciously chosen a color to go with it though. I wouldn’t choose orange, but that’s just me. 🙂

    Good luck with all of your book launch plans and duties!

    • Merrill — This particular breathwork exercise came from the “Self-Gratification” chapter of Note to Self (just one of the seven selves). That particular self is associated with the color orange (hence that insert), however, as you said—you can elect any color (or not color at all). Curiously, what color would you choose?

      • Hmmm. . .I’m not sure, Laurie. I don’t know if I would choose a color at all. I love orange in sunrises and sunsets, or even a wall, but it’s just not a Merril color.

  3. I learned to breathe by starting a weekly yoga practice. At the beginning, my instructor actually takes us through an exercise much like what you have described here. I found the last time we hiked down into the Grand Canyon that learning to actually breathe (who would have thought so many people are barely breathing at all !?!) helped me climb back out more easily.

    Recently, I went to work spiritually on something I dearly wanted to manifest. As part of that preparation time, I revisited guided meditations on the Abraham-Hicks The Vortex cd. Breathwork is a big part of those meditations. AH describes focusing on one’s breath as the quickest and easiest way to align with one’s highest good without any resistant thoughts to counter that.

    Never thought of incorporating colors for feelings in the breathwork, Laurie, but my youngest son sometimes asks me a funny question about numbers being a color.

    I wish you every success with your upcoming book launch !!

  4. yes a great exercise ! Breathe! Deep breath…
    as of late it seems I have been holding my breath for something, and I have to consciously tell myself to breath.

    Are you sure your not Hyperventilating with all that excitement around the publishing a new book? This is truly exciting and I am thrilled for you Laurie!

  5. Publishing a book and moving house both invoke reasons to b r e a t h e. I’m with you, siSTAR!
    I would choose purple rather than orange, hoping for similar results.

    In an hour I will be in Pilates class with dim lights and an instructor prompting long, slow breaths. AHhhhhhhh!

    • Marian — I can well imagine the hive of activity you’re currently in. I promise that it’ll be in your rearview mirror soon.

      Purple (the color of royalty) is an excellent color to use, too 🙂

  6. How utterly exciting! Between that and Sandi’s visit, you must be sky-high. I did a LOT of breathing deeply in June while ill with inflamed rib cartilage. It really helped relax the body/mind.

    • Kathy — We had so much FUN during Sandi and Dennis’ visit! It’s the second time I’ve met them both in person. They are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside!

      I’m so glad you know about, and incorporated, the healing benefits of breathwork. 🙂

  7. Just returned from another excellent yoga class, when the yogi urged us to do ‘square breathing’ or what he preferred, ‘back to you’ breathing. Four inhale, hold for four, four exhale, hold for four. Not as easy to do while in downdog or plank, but it sure is great breathing discipline. I floated out of class a different, better woman.
    I’m breathing happily for the release of your book, Laurie!

  8. I can’t wait to read your book and learn more of your calming tricks. This one is a goodie and I try doing it as often as I can when stressed.

  9. Dennis has been working with me on breathing. As a singer he had to learn to sing from tthe diaphragm instead of the upper chest. Of course, it’s not the way I have been breathing all mylife, it’s strictly a learned technique but quite useful.

  10. I am so excited about your book Laurie. I’m not only buying for me , it will be a great Christmas present for a few people I know ,,,and , and , AND I can say i KNOW ( sort of we have been talking for many years ) the wonderful author .
    Love the idea of the breathing practise but have you any advice for a snoring dog …one hour I got the other night , I am gong to imprint the breathing session on my brain 😀😀😀 And yet if I I can’t hear him I m getting out of bed to see if he’s ok …I just can’t win 😂😂

    • Cherry — I’m so glad that you’re excited about Note to Self. I am tooooo 🙂

      If you wear earplugs, you won’t hear your snoring dog, but then you’ll worry about him and get up to check on the little fellow. Oh man, oh man — it’s like having an infant. 🙂

  11. One of the side effects of new medication is muscle spasms – my Liangong coach has me visualizing the full session everyday and sitting quietly 9x each day and breathing in and out with 9 breathing patterns. I am amazed at how helpful this is without adding another pill remedy. The apple cider vinegar helps too.

    I would be jumping for joy about the new books and that you were able to give the first signed copy to a friend even more exciting. Lucky you and your outstanding efforts are paying off. Beautifully!

  12. So excited for you!
    I cannot tell that I am focused on my breath all the time – I wish I would be – but every time I am not feeling well, I make sure that I inhale and exhale with the ratio 2:3, or even 2:4, and then pause. Exhaling is the most important part of the breathing process.

  13. Hi Laurie your blog posts always inspire me .Due to my busy schedule I couldn’t follow you for some days n today I saw it with inspiring posts .your pic of Breathe with hand bands is beautiful as I have special attraction for such bands .

  14. So so exiting to see that the publication of your book is around the proverbial corner Laurie! During my walks around the neighborhood I do regularly breathe :in and out.” So vital towards well being!

  15. Great exercise Laurie and I can’t wait to try it!!!! I have a very hard time slowing down my mind and my breathing.

    I am a naturally “hyper” person. I did try to take a meditation class one time and there were six others plus the instructor. During the breathing and focusing session the instructor stopped the class and said “there is someone in the room who is racing around the halls in their minds and the energy is very high”. I knew he was talking about me. At the end of the class he said my energy was very strong and I should take private meditation classes as it would be hard for others to learn with my hyper energy lol! I envy people who can just be “still” and let their minds/body relax. Tina

    • Tina — Clearly we’re cut from the same bolt of cloth for you’ve met your “hyper” match in me. It takes a long time for me to whoa down. Even when my body sits, my mind is still standing! 🙂

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