I’ve been freediving for a little over a year now. It’s a simple sport: hold your breath as long as possible, while you dive into the deep and explore the underwater world.

It also happens to be the toughest mental challenge I’ve experienced. You have to override your brain and body’s signals to breathe. This is the ultimate meditation!

To get to the next level in my training, I need to show I can hold my breath underwater for two minutes.

For months, I’ve struggled to reach it.

Even at home on my bed, with all kinds of different strategies for clearing my mind and riding out the physical discomfort that arises when your body has the urge to breathe, I just couldn’t crack the two-minute mark.

Today (literally five minutes ago), I lay on my bed and BOOM. I reached it! And then again. And then again.

So what changed?

I made myself feel safe.

I told myself I was safe.

Over and over and over again.

As darkness filled the space behind my eyelids. As my abdominal muscles pulsated. As my lungs screamed for breath…

I came back to those words:

I am safe.

I am safe.

I am safe.

Turns out, that’s all my brain needed to hear. In a seemingly unsafe situation (“Why aren’t we breathing?! Omg we’re gonna die!”), I gave it reassurance that all is OK. It’s under control. Ride it out. Feel the discomfort. Keep going. You want this. 

It’s safe.

You might like to give it a go. Where can you remind yourself you’re safe?

Is it in the meeting room at work?

At the doctor’s office?

When another bill arrives in the post?

What happens if you tell yourself you’re safe? That in this moment, all is well. All is perfect. You are held.

“I am safe.”

What happens then?

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