Concentrating and remembering

Centering breath

My mind can get into a state that resembles a busy and noisy construction site. So naturally, concentrating in this state is challenging. Breathing and concentration go hand in hand. Generally, shifting awareness toward my breathing extends my attention span and may improve my memorizing ability.

When my thoughts are scattered, inhaling and exhaling in equal durations contribute to focusing. When having an equal inhale and exhale, the Fight or Flight and Rest & Repair forces of my breathing become more balanced, allowing ‘zooming.’ On the one hand, I’m ready to make an effort; on the other hand, I’m in a relatively relaxed state.

The maximum relaxation window is when I hold my breath following an exhale before ‘air hunger start.’ During this period, breathing muscles are inactive. That is my ‘breathing bullseye’ interval.

Shooters and archers need to be very precise. Pulling the trigger or releasing the arrow at the right stage of their breathing cycle can mean hit or miss. The same goes for games such as pool, darts, etc. Shooting during the ‘breathing bullseye’ improves the chance of completing the mission successfully or winning the game.

Breathing this way for a long time may prevent my ‘breathing app’ from adjusting different balancing needs, which may also affect concentration negatively. That’s why I limit the number of breathing cycles when using this tool.

Memory lapse

We all have moments of forgetfulness where we try to remember something that was known to us but simply can’t. It was surely registered but momentarily can’t be retrieved.  It stands on the tip of our ‘memory’s tongue’ but doesn’t want to come out.

At a young age, I didn’t struggle much to remember a name, keep appointments, or memorize a phone number I had used a few times. Yet, around 50, I started getting these memory lapses more frequently. I would go somewhere and forget what I was about to do.

Reading more on those ‘senior moments,’ I could understand that as long as these glitches are not too frequent and don’t disturb everyday activities, it’s not a sign of early… of early… of early… I can’t remember right now the name of that German guy; the forgetting disease is named after 😊.

Still, I thought having a breathing procedure in these situations would be helpful. So instead of struggling with inner mind loops, resort to a pre-practiced breathing sequence.

I use ‘square breathing’ in these situations by inhaling, holding, exhaling, and holding in equal parts.

We all have different breathing identities. So instead of rigid counting, I prefer to use my breathing rate at rest time as a reference to the ‘size’ of the square.

I divide ‘breathing rate at rest’ by 4.

My breathing rate at rest is about 15 breaths per minute.

So, 15 ÷ 4 = about 4

Inducing memory retrieval tool

  • Exclusive nose breathing
  1. I inhale and extend my diaphragm to maximum amplitude. 4 counts.
  2. Hold my breath at maximum diaphragm amplitude. 4 counts.
  3. Exhale until my diaphragm reaches its neutral dome 4 counts.
  4. Hold my breath with empty lungs. 4 counts.
  5. Limit the number of breathing cycles.

Remarks and details

I have tried using the word ‘focus’ as a Mantra when practicing this square breathing but did not adopt it.

If what I’m trying to remember doesn’t pop up, I accept it as part of life.