Do You Need A Quickie?

It’s been a long year hasn’t it? 

If you read our last blog post and you did any of the “year in reflection” exercises, from Unravel Your Year, then you will agree that the entire year wasn’t so bad. There were a few shiny moments to celebrate. 

I can’t help but notice in comments on social media and in conversations with clients coming in for massage appointments that there is a great deal of stress and anxiety around trying to get a vaccine. I’ve been jokingly referring to it as the Hunger Games. There’s anxiety around should I even get the vaccine? Am I going to feel sick after it, etc.? It’s a very personal choice and one that can kick up the nervous system for sure. 

I want to share something we’ve shared before in our blog. Just a simple reminder of how easy it can be to shift from panic, fear or stress to calm and centered. One of my secret weapons for stress – The 4-7-8 Breath Exercise.  This is definitely a quick way  to shift how you are feeling. 

The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

    1. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

      1. Hold your breath for a count of seven.

        1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

          1. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
            Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply. This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.  Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
            Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.

Give it a try, right now, start with a big whoosh exhale:

  1. Breath in –

    1. Hold –

      1. Exhale –

        1. Don’t you feel better already?

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