4-7-8 breathing is a great breathing technique to add to your anxiety tool bag. It helps decrease stress, brings balance to your body, improves anxiety, and gives your organs and tissues a much-needed oxygen boost. When practiced regularly, 4-7-8 breathing slows down your heart rate, lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, and creates a sense of relaxation.
The best part about 4-7-8 breathing is that it takes less than a minute to complete, so no excuses for not practicing.
HOW TO 4-7-8 BREATHE
- You can practice this exercise in any position that is most comfortable for you. If you choose to sit, make sure your back is straight, and your feet are on the floor.
- Put the tip of your tongue on the ridge of the gum just above your upper front teeth, and leave it there throughout the exercise.
- Forcefully breathe out all the air you can through your mouth. You’ll want to make a whooshing sound.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven. You have to get enough air in on the four to last you the seven.
- Then blow air out through your mouth, pushing your lips out, making that whooshing sound again, for a count of eight.
- You have successfully completed one cycle. Repeat this cycle four times. Don’t panic if you feel light-headed while practicing this exercise. The more you practice, the easier it will get.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
To see an improvement in your anxiety symptoms, I strongly encourage you to practice this exercise twice daily for 4 to 6 weeks.
You can practice upon awakening, in the middle of the day, when you’re in an anxiety-provoking situation, or just before falling asleep. In all reality, it doesn’t matter when you practice just as long as you practice.
Feel free to practice more often if you like, just be sure to stick to four breath cycles at a time.
After four to six weeks of practice, if you are comfortable with it, you can increase to eight breath cycles.
4 – 7 – 8 breathing is also a great exercise to engage in before falling asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night tossing and turning. This style of breath will help you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which, as a result, will slow down your mind and relax your body.
If you’re feeling adventurous, belly breathing is also a great technique to reduce anxiety (faster than a Xanax).
Did you know that you CAN take back control of your anxiety from the comforts of your living room? Yes, that means you can show up in your pajamas.
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