The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
What it is: The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a mindful breathing method that is well-known around the world, specifically in yoga and eastern wellness practises. When used correctly, it can help an individual fall asleep in record time- sometimes in under a minute- and also help ward off anxiety and stress.
How it works: When we're stressed, we tend to take quick, shallow breaths. Think about the last time you were nervous or feeling hectic- without realizing it, you automatically start to hold your breath and had to make a conscious effort to breathe in and out. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is all about slowing down your breathing, which in return, slows down your heart rate.
Quite simply, breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. It is recommended that a person perform this exercise four times to equal a set.
The combination of 4-7-8 has a chemical-like effect on our brain which brings your body to a more tranquil state.
What it can do for you: This breathing exercise acts like a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. If something upsetting or stressful just happened to you, immediately starting this mindful breathing technique can help reduce the anxiety that may appear as a result of the stressful event.
Breathing in slowly delivers more oxygen to your body while holding your breath for 7 seconds allows the fresh oxygen to travel through your bloodstream. Exhaling calmly for 8 seconds at the end releases carbon dioxide from your body back into the environment.
Try out this helpful breathing method on your own to feel the effects and if you're curious to find out more, visit Dr. Andrew Weil's website to learn more.