Sitting around recently, scrolling through the endless streaming channels and shows, I came across “Limitless With Chris Hemsworth.” The show follows the “Thor” star as he chases better ways to live, putting his body on the line in the name of identifying strategies to help himself live longer. It proved great fun watching Hemsworth struggle to climb a rope or fail basic special operations swim qualifications. Of course, he’s a specimen, and figures it all out in due course. But along the way, he focuses on battling his own internal stressors, highlighting “box breathing.”
Box Breathing for Better Shooting
As I watched, it was pretty cool to hear the show’s psychologist explain to Hemsworth a technique I’d just used in the field only days before. Though I’d never heard the term box breathing, I sure employed it to good use in Montana just last week. And it helped me successfully put meat on the table.
My hunt took place near Bozeman, and on the very first day we rocketed up the mountain chasing elk. We had to cover three ridges, angling to cut off a group of four nice bulls. Long story short, by the time I got to the top, I was completely smoked. Just dying, out of shape and out of breath. This wasn’t so much nerves wrecking my shooting position as it was extreme conditions. Luckily, I was able to employ a hook breath, something I learned diving once upon a time, and steady the rifle enough to make the shot at 330 yards.
But the following day, I attempted to fill my mule deer tag. And sure enough, early in the evening, we came across a monster, gnarly 6×7 bull. We were able to considerably cut the distance down compared to the elk. By the time I took a rest, the deer ranged a mere 134 yards away. But unlike the day before, I had a bunch of time to sit and think about the animal before me. He was a monster trophy buck for me. And I was nearly going to pieces, completely shook when it was time to shoot. I was in danger of missing, even at this extremely close range, if I didn’t get it together, fast!
Box Breathing Defined
WebMD defines box breathing as “a deep breathing technique that can help you slow down your breathing. It works by distracting your mind as you count to four, calming your nervous system, and decreasing stress in your body.”
Luckily, even before seeing Hemsworth or looking it up on WebMD, I had the presence of mind to breathe. I took nearly a full minute of full, deep breaths as we approached. Sneaking into shooting position, I worked on breath control and positive thoughts, seeing the crosshairs in my mind settling behind the shoulder, breaking a clean shot. And it worked well. Despite the real, present adrenaline dump over the trophy of a lifetime for me, I was able to reel it back in. Breathing and conscious thought worked me back into a shooting state of mind.
“Limitless With Chris Hemsworth”
“Limitless” pits Hemsworth against frigid waters, the Australian Outback, dizzying heights, and intense training. He catches dinner via a spear gun following a four-day fast; meanwhile, a tribesman gets dinner for his entire village with his traditional bow and arrow, killing a Dik-dik. The show features some pretty cool training and food for thought, with a few golden nuggets every shooter and hunter can use. The show actually talks about hunting and spear fishing and killing animals for food, without negative judgement. That alone makes it worthy of a view.