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Episode 194 - How Breathing Makes You Better

Updated: Mar 18

We want to grow, to be our best selves, to self-actualize... all that self-help jargon ;)

And often we get stuck in a place where our positive, intentional thoughts just don't stick.

What's a girl to do?

One reason this happens is that you've been driven from your logical, regulated pre-frontal cortex down into your survival brain. (It's very hard to think "I can handle it" when your brain is sending you signals that life is so overwhelming you're probably going to die.)

You've probably heard it before, but I think we can all use the reminder that sometimes it's just as simple as a breath. Deep breathing has been proven to regulate our nervous system and allow us access to our pre-frontal cortex. Translation: we get to feel--and act--like ourselves again.

I hope this idea can help you this week.


  1. How breathing makes you better

  2. What we do when we perceive threats

  3. How breathing helps

  4. Our focus in July with guest coach Ilana Kendal


  1. If you want access to this workshop, along with all of our other past workshops, join the How to Glow community. It's only $49 a month and you can sign up right here.

Ep 194 - How Breathing Makes You Better ===

<00:00:00> Kayla Levin: Hello, my friends. I am so excited. July is right around the corner and I have my friend and colleague Ilana Kendal is coming. Into how to glow as a guest coach. This is actually her second time. She was very, very loved and well received the first time, and I'm so excited to have her back.

<00:00:22> Kayla Levin: And I'm gonna talk a little bit today about what she's going to be doing. I'm gonna give kind of the 101 and she's gonna be doing very deep advanced work. Um, I just was like, Well, I was like giddy, but also extremely tired, you know, that kind of feeling. But I was so excited after speaking with her and you know, we were just had a meeting to flesh out all of her ideas and this is really a place where she has so much expertise.

<00:00:47> Kayla Levin: Um, but I wanna talk about kind of why all this is relevant for us and what we're gonna be doing. So, This episode is called Why Breathing Makes You Better. So what do I even mean? So those of you who've been listening longer, you know, and I'm gonna very much simplify this, but if we think about our brain as sort of two, there's two main parts to the brain.

<00:01:04> Kayla Levin: Of course there's a bajillion different parts of the brain, but as a user of the brain, right? As somebody who's trying to optimize our brain, we wanna know that one really important. Piece function in our brain is the prefrontal cortex. It is the, you know, or the upper brain. This is the part of our brain that regulates our emotions, that helps us plan, make decisions.

<00:01:25> Kayla Levin: This is the part of the brain that a person with a D h D struggles with, right? Um, all of us struggle with this to some dis some degree, but, you know, your prefrontal brain is, is the one that makes the decisions, makes the goals. Here's who I wanna be, here's how I wanna show up. Here's how I'm gonna spend my week.

<00:01:41> Kayla Levin: We also have the lower brain. Okay? So this is kind of the area of the brain that has our survival mechanisms, that's processing a lot for us. This is the part of our brain that we go to when we feel threatened, when we feel endangered, um, and. While that's very helpful. If I am living in a, in a forest and there's wild animals and I need to be protecting my family, just because I'm living in a civilized society in a safe house with the lock on the door doesn't mean that part of my brain's not there.

<00:02:11> What we do when we perceive threats ---

<00:02:11> Kayla Levin: And so what often happens is that we will perceive something as a threat, which isn't the same, but our brain is processing it in the same way. If something is technically threatening me, it's very important that I do not get distracted by any unnecessary details. It's important that if I'm hungry, I, my brain kind of suppresses my hunger.

<00:02:31> Kayla Levin: If I'm tired, my brain gives me some adrenaline to wake me back up again. You know, it, it really helps me focus on dealing with a threat. And if you've ever been in a situation where someone does something that you feel like is threatening you, so like for instance, one that I, I hear a lot will be like, You know, you're trying to do something with your parents and or through your children with your parenting.

<00:02:48> Kayla Levin: Those of you who are moms and either your husband or your in-laws or your parents will somehow feel like they're sabotaging that, and Mama Bear. Puts you right into lower brain and you will be fixated on this issue and it will feel very threatening. And you might even notice your heart rate going up or that you're starting to sweat.

<00:03:05> Kayla Levin: And it's very hard for you to manage how you wanna show up because you have this almost survival instinct that you need to protect your children. And maybe they just like gave them a lot of candy or something, right? Like it's, there's no one's life is on the line. But it can feel that way in our thoughts.

<00:03:25> Kayla Levin: Are really there. Our thoughts are really intense and, and strong, and it's very hard to rationalize. Why is it hard to rationalize? Because rationalizing happens in a different part of the brain. Rationalizing and understanding and, and thinking big and getting creative and, and interpersonal relationships, all those skills.

<00:03:43> Kayla Levin: That's all in the prefrontal cortex. And when something is threatening, we go down into lower brain. We go down into the part of our brain that is there for survival.

<00:03:51> How breathing helps ---

<00:03:51> Kayla Levin: So how is this, related to breathing? What we have learned is that breathing is one of the mechanisms, is one of the ways that we can actually bring ourselves.

<00:04:03> Kayla Levin: From our lower brain back online with our upper brain, part of the brain where we wanna be operating part of the brain that really represents who we really are, right? The lower, lower brain. We're all pretty similar when we're lower brain, but all your great personality and your good ideas and your creativity, that's all upper brain.

<00:04:19> Kayla Levin: We wanna get you back there as fast as possible. So this is an amazing hack. First of all, if this is new or if this is a good reminder, a timely reminder, sometimes it's just a matter of taking a breath. Long, slow inhale, pause at the top, long, slow exhale. That might be all you need to just send the message to your nervous system that we are not in danger, nothing is urgent, and we can go back into prefrontal cortex that's just one option of a way that we can get ourselves regulated and there really are so many,

<00:04:55> Our focus in July ---

<00:04:55> Kayla Levin: but the point that Ilana is gonna be really addressing in July that I think is really important for all of us to look at is how, for many of us, the facts of our lives, just the, the. Amount of sleep we're able to get the stressors that we have, the maybe some physical stuff going on for us, um, whether, you know, even if it's, let's say like pregnancy or nursing or really, you know, it could be so many things.

<00:05:22> Kayla Levin: So, Can have us beginning already from a place of this somewhat depleted system, right? So we've all been there where the same thing that has happened to you a hundred times and you were always fine, but then one day you were just, you weren't feeling well or you didn't get enough sleep and you just went way faster into that space of lower brain or, you know, getting triggered and just responding so highly, right?

<00:05:48> Kayla Levin: And. We're human, we're, we're not meant to live a life where we're never challenged, we're never, there's no stressors. I mean, if our goal was to just never be stressed, then we would be living really, really boring, meaningless lives because we'd be spending our whole life just avoiding anything that created any stress.

<00:06:05> Kayla Levin: Stress is actually really good for us in many ways. We, we, we grow from it, we learn from it. We get stronger from it, right? It's not a question of avoiding the stress, but learning how we navigate with it. How do we operate with it? How do we maximize our brain and, and have as many tools in our toolbox as we possibly can so that especially when our life really is more challenging, we're in some form of a crisis, we're able to keep ourselves regulated.

<00:06:35> Kayla Levin: So we're spending more time in that prefrontal cortex showing up as our best selves and not getting driven down into that lower brain feeling that fight or flight. Um, or just feeling really sort of triggered and threatened by everything going on in our lives. So I, I think that this really is, you know, and I think next week's podcast episode also, I'm so excited for you.

<00:06:55> Kayla Levin: It's gonna be an interview with my friend Miriam Campbell. We also talk about this, of, of understanding that we're here to grow. And when we think about it in that context, then we're using this material to. Support ourselves in being our best selves, right? As opposed to it is the end. It's not, it's a means to an end.

<00:07:15> Kayla Levin: So I'm giving you that kind of, that one idea for this week for you to practice with, to just bring to the front of your, attention if you knew it before. And if not, to just start exploring what a difference it can make for you when you really literally just give yourself that breath.

<00:07:31> Kayla Levin: Because when we are feeling good, we are at our best. We are essentially very good people, trying very hard and doing very good things, and so we just wanna get ourselves back online, back to our best. And sometimes it just takes a breath. All right, my friends, if you want to join us and learn with Ilan in July, which I so highly recommend, I will still be there for written coaching throughout the month for whatever you all need.

<00:07:58> Kayla Levin: But, um, I am excited for you all to take a really deep dive with Ilana. So, The way to do it is go to Now, this is really crazy because my membership is only $49 a month, and I don't actually require any kind of contractor or commitment. I definitely recommend you stay in for a full year if you wanna take my recommendation, but you don't have to, and I don't get upset if you don't.

<00:08:19> Kayla Levin: You can just leave. It's completely inside your own profile and. $49 just for the first class Elon is gonna give is an incredible, incredible bargain. The amount of information you're gonna walk away with is the kind of thing you're gonna wanna have for life, that you're gonna wanna teach your children when you have them, or if you have them that you're gonna be sharing with your husbands.

<00:08:39> Kayla Levin: These are the tools that we wish we had learned in school. And so I really, really strongly recommend anyone who has not yet joined the program. Make sure you're in there for July. It's gonna be an amazing month. I know I'm gonna be watching and using it, and I am just so excited that we get to keep breaking these amazing people into the community.

<00:08:55> Kayla Levin: I mean, Lauren Allen had this. Keep hearing from people how much that has helped them. The special workshop she did, we had Jona chat off. I mean, we've had so many great people come in. I didn't mention everybody, um, to just add to the program and I just really, really love that. So, you started. You'll learn how to coach yourself. You'll have so many resources available in the most amazing community and a whole month to learn the Iana Kendall. So it's pretty great. All right, my friends. Have an amazing week. See you back here next week with the incredible Marion Campbell.

<00:09:25> Kayla Levin: Just so many good people in the world. It's amazing. See you there. Bye.

<00:09:30> Kayla Levin: Hey there. If you know a newlywed or you are one, we have a wedding gift for you. Go to to get access to my best selling course &quot;First Year Married&quot; you have got to be in your first six months, so make sure you don't wait. And if you've been married longer than that, but you're looking for some more support or this stuff is just super fun for you.

<00:09:50> Kayla Levin: I'd love to have you join me inside of my membership community, How To Glow. It's for women looking for a fresh take on relationship development. Join us for live coaching calls, signature classes, and anonymous q and a. Let's do it.

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