The Five Minute Breathing Exercise

I have a bad posture. I tend to slouch and sit in front of the computer for long hours. I developed upper back pain and shoulder pain. To manage the back and shoulder pain, I would use a foam roller or a rolled up Yoga mat to roll the “knots” away. Before I can roll away the knots, I have to roll through a series of pain. It is a self-inflicted torture chamber.

I have recently come across Dr. Belisa Vranich’s video on better breathing. The lesson in the video is about how to use your belly to breath. Belly breathing is actually nothing new to our body. If you observe babies or young children sleeping, they tend to use their belly to breath.

As we grow older due to lifestyle changes, we have “forgotten” how to use belly to breathe.

Dr Belisa’s video is the perfect way to remind the body how we should correctly breathe once more.

I have been using belly breathing for nearly a month. I practise it in the morning when I got up, at the traffic light, lining up and waiting for someone or the elevator. I do it no more than five minutes per session.
The belling breathing method is subtle enough that I will not attract any attention nor there is a need to carry any equipment. As soon as there is a chance, regardless how little time I have, I can pay attention to the belly breathing.

Since I started practising belling breathing, panic attack such as shortness of breath has gone away. More importantly, I fall asleep faster, especially I practise it just before going to bed.

I still get upper back and shoulder pain. It is slightly more manageable.
The breathing exercise is not a miracle drug or a silver bullet. It just helps me to manage the day better by focusing on the present moment and get detached from the insanity.

For those who are interested in Dr Belisa’s breathing courses, you can find the link here. I have no affiliation with Dr Belisa or her courses. Rather, I just find her breathing method useful.

Vote Yourself for a Better Future

It is election fever in Malaysia. On 9th May 2018, Malaysia will be having its 14th General Election. The whole country is currently engaged in an intense debate on who will win the election.

I will be voting for the political party who I think will make the country a better place. I could be right. Or I could be wrong.

Regardless of your voting preference. There is one more vote that you must cast. That’s the vote for yourself.

Your favourite political party may win the election. But you still need to take ownership of your life. Your dream life will not appear by itself. Your desired weight will not magically appear overnight. The business that you want to start will not start by itself.

We vote for our favourite political party because we believe that the party will take the necessary action to bring glory to the country. So vote yourself and take action to have your dream come true.

Create a pledge for yourself. Take the hard road. Vote yourself for a better future. Take that ownership and do the hard work.

Do not get blinded by the promises of politicians. The only promises that you can believe are the promises that you make to yourself. You do not need to wait for the election to vote yourself. Vote yourself now. Vote yourself for a better future.

You Should Not Trust Social Media

See this picture? I took the picture on the 21st April 2018. I was attending my wife’s boss wedding. What do you see in the picture?
I am sure it gives you an impression that Simon has made it. Look at the smile. Look at the body. Everything must be running perfectly for him.

I posted on Facebook and I gathered more likes that I imagined.

Here is the hard reality.

  • I am juggling eight projects which three of it requires a daily commitment of 3 to 4 hours.
  • I have four projects that at risk being delayed.
  • My eating has become so irregular that my body weight dropped 3 KGs.
  • Every night, I sleep no more than 5.5 hours.
  • On the day of that picture, I have to attend a math workshop organized by the school, which there is still housework waiting for me to complete.
  • There are also other personal issues which I need to wrestle.
  • I am struggling with balancing family time, work time and my “me” time.

A picture, a video or a post on social media just a snapshot of a person’s moment. It does not reflect the reality of that person. Majority of people would prefer to show the perfect side of themselves. That’s why Instagram and Facebook posts are filled with beautifully taken pictures and videos. The majority are showing how wonderful that they are living.

We are all blinded by other people’s perfection.

When I first started using social media. I would get depressed and jealous of postings from friends. There is always a sense of guilt and dread that I am not good enough. The bar keeps going higher and higher. Frank just bought a new car. Mary is on her 3rd dream vacation this year.

No doubt we should not compare ourselves with others. We are only human. We live in a community. Unless the person has strong self-awareness. It is inevitable that we compare ourselves to others. We all want to be better and live a life of our dreams. We want to see the lights at the end of the tunnel. We want to have hope, to break free from the shackles of our own prison. With Social Media, the bar has been set so high that we all give up before we even start. We ended up creating our own prison. A prison without locks and an imaginary door.

I have also contributed to this “I am living the dream life” movement as well. Whenever someone likes my post, I get a dopamine hit. It feels great! No matter how bad is my day, I can always rely on social media to artificially keep me happy. I rather post on Social Media than actually doing my work. By avoiding work, I get more intimidated by my workload the more I want to post on Facebook. It is a trap and it is a race to the bottom.

Instead of comparing yourself to other people. The better way to compare is to compare your yesterday’s self with today.

Today, do you want to improve yourself by 1%? Simple. Cut back on your social media by as much as you can tolerate. Use the time saved from going on Social Media wisely. Look into your struggles straight in the eye.

I choose to run towards my problems, and not away from them. Because’s that what heroes do.
Thor: Ragnorok

Forge your own path by taking one step at a time. Then you have truly made it.

Do not believe that everyone has made it. You do not know their hidden struggles and their silent tears.