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Zee Clarke is a Harvard MBA and the author of Black People Breathe, who began leading Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley startup teams and now teaches mindfulness, breathwork, and healing.
In this episode of Motivational Mondays, Zee shares what breathwork is, why it’s so effective at helping you manage stressful situations, and how you can leverage the techniques for better health and greater success.
WHAT'S MINDFULNESS AND BREATHWORK?
Mindfulness is focusing on the present without judging your feelings. It’s objectively asking, “How are you feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally?” Breathwork is breathing with intention. There are different exercises you can do based on how you’re feeling. Specific breathing patterns influence your nervous system, emotional state, and physical well-being.
In corporate America, Zee was often the only Black woman in a room, and she felt stressed and judged. This led to perfectionism, chronic stress, and increasing levels of self-doubt. So, she created a breathing exercise that helps build confidence. In it, you inhale deeply and on the exhale, open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and breathe like a lion.
WHY ZEE WROTE BLACK PEOPLE BREATHE
Zee lived with chronic stress for years as she was rising up the ranks in Silicon Valley, but that career momentum led to burnout. Then, she took a trip to India where she practiced yoga and meditation regularly, and she never felt better.
Zee notes that POC experience many physical health problems that are directly correlated with racism:
Higher rates of high blood pressure
Higher rates of heart disease
Anxiety and depression
The endless series of daily microaggressions and hostilities means an accumulation of seemingly little things that are killing people slowly. Zee wrote her book, Black People Breathe, to help people implement the tools she learned through her experiences and feel better.
You can become a better ally by reading this book. It shares an inside glimpse of what happens to Black people in America. Zee notes that, while her book is written for the BIPOC community, its tools are useful for everyone.
Listen to this episode to learn about...
[0:35] Mindfulness and breathwork
[3:10] A breathing exercise to help you ask for a raise
[6:27] Discussing race issues constructively
[11:01] The CROWN Act
[13:50] Why Zee wrote Black People Breathe
[21:32] How to practice mindfulness
[22:30] Zee’s B.R.E.A.T.H.E. exercise
Listen to the bonus episode to learn how to use big dreams and visualization in connection with goal-setting techniques, and why gratitude is a powerful practice.
Buy Zee's book, Black People Breathe
Check out other Motivational Mondays episodes