Breath Mini-Challenge: Week 4 of Madefor's Mental Health Month

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Breath Mini-Challenge: Week 4 of Madefor's Mental Health Month | Madefor

All throughout May, Madefor is getting Back to Basics by helping you tune into the foundational human needs that support positive mental health!

We're offering a FREE 28-day Text Challenge designed around four foundational elements of mental health: hydration, movement, nature, and breath. Everyday during the month of May, we're sending participants one small action step, the science behind it, and an occasional reflection prompt. By the end, these consistent steps will help you build positive momentum and feel more in control of your mental wellbeing.

Start with Hydration for week 1, our Movement Challenge for week 2, and Nature in week 3. Once you have reviewed all the action steps for each, move onto Week 4.

Our fourth week is all about BREATH! 🌬

If you've joined us by text, great! If you're unable to or missed a few days of the Text Challenge, that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out for good. We’re updating this page with each of the daily prompts here, so you can get into action at any time that works for you!

***A quick note before we get started—if you or someone you care about are struggling with a mental health condition, know you’re not alone. You matter, and maybe the most courageous thing you can do today is ask for help. Find professional medical care—there is no substitute.

 

Madefor Mental Health Challenge - Breath

Day 22 (May 22): Take a CO2 Breath Test

Breath can be a game-changer! Decades of research tells us that a consistent, intentional breathing practice can lead to greater resilience, enhanced cognition, & better control over your physical, mental, & emotional states. Avoid sifting through trendy apps or attending a time-intensive retreat. We are going to share a series of proven practices that deliver real benefits. 

 

Let's get started with a CO2 breath test from our friend, Brian Mackenzie, Human Performance Specialist, to determine how reactive you are to stress today. Watch this quick video to learn the method, take the test, and plug your results into the breath calculator on Shift's website. Use this baseline to mark progress throughout the week! What was your number? Share with us!

 

Plug in your results to the breath calculator at the bottom of this page for additional insights. You got this! 

Day 23 (May 23): Reduce Anxiety with the Physiological Sigh

Breathwork will not endow you with superhuman endurance, heal cancer, or bestow Buddha-like patience. What it can do, according to established research, is reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, and depression. It can confer greater immunity, recovery from injury, and relief from pain. Best of all, you can lean into breathwork whenever you need it!

 

Control heightened states like stress or anxiety in real-time using a tool called the Physiological Sigh. Watch this QUICK video from Dr. Huberman (Madefor's Lead Advisor and Neuroscientist) to learn the method and practice it today! Double inhale, extended exhale. 

Day 24 (May 24): Try A Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM) is a form of mindfulness that is proven to promote positive mental health through compassion and connectedness. Research shows that a daily practice actually creates neuroplastic changes that make your brain better - building your capacity to stay calm, compassionate, and take action in response to stressful situations. 

 

If you've had a hard time connecting with mindfulness practices in the past, we challenge you to give this impactful tool a try! Carve out 10 minutes today, find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, and turn on this guided session from Madefor Advisor, Rory Cordial. How did it feel to take a mindful moment today? 

Day 25 (May 25): Induce Calm with Non-Sleep Deep Rest

Today's challenge is to learn and practice a tool called Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR). You can use NSDR to rapidly reset your ability to be calm and focused. Use this tool at a time of day when you would normally start to feel sluggish or right before you go to sleep. Avoid a second caffeine crash (☕️) or disrupted night of sleep. Let us know it goes!

Day 26 (May 26): Use Your Breath to Shift Your Mind 

Did you know that just three days of mindfulness training produces a short-term decrease in certain cytokines, which are the molecules in our bodies responsible for inflammation? And, just 30 hours of practice leads to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improved overall mental health. You are well on your way to improved health this week!

 

We take air in and let air out thousands of times each day. Even small shifts in how you breathe can make a big impact. Your challenge is to use your breath in an intentional way to shift your experience today. Dr. Huberman shares easy breathing patterns to cultivate states of focus, alertness, or calm. Watch the video to learn more! 

Day 27 (May 27): Tune Into Your Body With A 7-minute Body Scan

Stress is unavoidable. We are wired to experience stress as a survival mechanism but with an influx of modern-day stressors - like traffic jams & email alerts - it can be hard to recognize and regulate the volume of stressors that compete for our attention. It doesn't have to be that way for you. You have an inside-out tool you can deploy at will - your breath.

 

Learn to recognize and relieve the physical symptoms of stress in your body with a body scan practice. Your challenge today is to try out this 7-min guided practice from Madefor Teammate, Gailor. After a few tries, you will be able to draw on this mindfulness practice, in real-time, whenever you need it. 

Day 28 (May 28): Slow Down With Box Breathing

Well-being = feeling good while doing things that are good for you. That's our motto here at Madefor (thanks to Dr. Huberman)! Ultimately, the things that inspire and motivate you to better self are unique to you. Our hope is that over the course of this challenge you saw the power of getting into action - how even the smallest of steps can make life not only easier but more enjoyable!

 

We have 1 more technique to share as we wrap up the May challenge - Box Breathing. Used by the Navy SEALs to stay calm in high-stress situations, it's a simple breath pattern that consists of inhales, holds, exhales and holds. Designed to intentionally slow down your breath cycle, you'll instantly notice a difference! Use this video as a guide & share with us how it goes! 

 

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Thanks for joining us for the 28-day Mental Health Challenge! We hope you've noticed the positive results that even the simplest action steps can produce. Whether you engaged in our challenge for one day or many, we encourage you to keep up the momentum by joining the full Madefor Program