Toothache and stomach pain carried an important message

Anders Olsson TheBreathPod Leave a Comment

In our society we have a strong faith in technology, especially we men. There are a number of various technical gadgets to measure our blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, fitness, blood sugar, and sleep quality, etc. When the various health parameters are digitally displayed on a watch, cell phone, computer or other device, the chance of taking it seriously increases. But when we want information about our breathing, the available technology is either very sparse or the underlying algorithms are simply not good enough to give a correct result.

Ever since I started Conscious Breathing in 2009 I have dreamed of a device that clearly shows my clients how they are actually breathing. So in 2012, when I started collaborating with a professor from Linköping, who was in the final phase of developing a product for measuring respiratory rate, oxygen saturation etc., I felt success was around the corner.

After 1½ year of development and validation, where we, among other things, conducted a study at the Karolinska Institute with a bunch of freedivers holding their breath, we were ready to take the next step and commercialize the product. In spring 2014 we took on an investor, who also happened to be a close friend of mine. We had some initial meetings and discussions that were very rewarding. The investor not only contributed money but also great knowledge, as he for many years worked as a successful consultant.

Toothache gave

sleeping problems

Although there was an increasing doubt that gnawed within me regarding our new collaboration, I did not allow it to surface. Money was just what was needed, both in the project with the new device, but also for me personally. The income of Conscious Breathing had dwindled over the past year as I had focused a lot on translating my book and website into English. So the bank account had started to get uncomfortably low.

I rarely get sick, but during the Easter weekend, about 1½ month after we started to work with my investor friend, I got a bad toothache. The pain lasted for four days and as I had difficulties sleeping because of the pain, I felt really weak. I am not one of those people who thinks getting sick is the end of the world and do everything, whether it’s taking medications, supplements or grandma’s miracle cure, to recover as quickly as possible.

My attitude is that when we are sick, we get a different perspective on things, which is an opportunity that allows for new insights. My toothache for example, gave me the insight that 15 minutes with the Relaxator gave me two hours of sleep and was as effective as a Tylenol.

Stomach pains on

my trip to USA

A week later it was time to travel to the US. Finally, time had come to launch my concept in English! I had ten lectures in eleven days, including one at Ericsson in Dallas, and a TV recording in Boulder where Regina Meredith from Gaia interviewed me. During the most part of my two weeks in the US, I had a stomachache. The pain started pretty much as soon as I got there so I initially thought it might be stress-related and perhaps had to do with my lectures.

Slowly but surely, I began to wonder whether if instead it had to do with the investor. It’s not that I’m unable to cooperate, but after having been an entrepreneur for 25 years, I’m used to making the decisions for the most part. However, as the investor provided the money, he always had the last word – “No, I don’t want to spend my money on that, let’s do like this instead.” And since the project needed a financier and I needed money as well as the fact that this was a close friend; I continued to ignore what my body was trying to tell me.

I convinced myself that the stomach problems would surely pass after getting home from my trip. But they didn’t, on the contrary – they increased. I arrived home on a Thursday and a few days later, Monday morning at 6AM, my investor friend and I were supposed to go to Linköping to meet the professor. The night between Saturday and Sunday I slept very little because of my stomach and the night between Sunday and Monday I did not sleep at all as I was in such pain.

The pain vanished when

making the right decision

At 5.30 AM, I called my friend and said I unfortunately had to cancel and he had to go by himself. When I hung up, the pain was basically gone and I fell asleep immediately and slept for several hours. When the insight sank in completely, I was able to remove the blinders and start thinking logically. I realized I needed to listen to my body when it was trying to tell me this was not a collaboration I should continue with.

A week later we had ended the agreement. I pulled out and my investor friend and the professor continued. Unfortunately, it broke our friendship, and we have no contact today.

An interesting observation however is that after I left the project, Conscious Breathing began to gain momentum and as I now look back three years later, it is obvious that it was a clear turning point. It is very possible it would have happened anyway, but it is also imaginable that the fact I chose to stand up for myself, and be honest with my feelings, it helped me become stronger and more determined in my path forward.

What became clear to me during this time is that our body is not an enemy who wants to hurt us, but instead our best friend who wants to help and tell us when we need to make changes in our way to live, think and act. Willpower and persistence also have their place, but if it happens at the expense of our ability to listen to our body’s attempt in trying to tell us something is not right, we are in danger of having long-term problems. Next time you experience pain, feel inexplicably tired, make embarrassing mistakes or feel a strong desire for sugar or alcohol, etc., take a step back and listen in case it’s your body trying to tell you something.

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Anders Olsson

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Anders Olsson is a lecturer, teacher and founder of the Conscious Breathing concept and the author of The Power of Your Breath. After living most of his life with a ”hurricane of thoughts” bouncing back and forth in is head, Anders was fortunate enough to come across tools that have helped him relax and find his inner calm. The most powerful of these tools has undoubtedly been to improve his breathing habits, which made Anders decide to become the worlds most prominent expert in breathing. This is almost 10 years ago and since then he has helped tens of thousands of people to a better health and improved quality of life. His vision is "Together we change the world, one breath at a time." Read more about Anders here >>