Breathing Technique

My Secret Weapon For De-stressing

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Posted by Judy Moon

Everyone experiences stress at some time in his or her life. It’s not fun, but it’s part of life here on this planet earth. The cool thing is that we came equipped with choice. We have the ability to choose how we handle stress.

There are tons of options for stress management available to us ranging from aromatherapy sprays, meditations, CD’s, Mindfulness classes, the list goes on…

My favorite way to instantly de-stress is the 4-7-8 breath. It was recommended to me years ago and it’s literally like a secret weapon I can whip out at any moment and experience an immediate shift. Like when the bus is running late in the morning, I could choose to get myself all twisted about it, or I can do a few rounds of 4-7-8 breathing instead.

I learned about it Dr. Weil’s website, he’s a big fan of it as well. Here are his instructions:

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.
2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5. 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 –
2. Hold –
3. Exhale –
4. Don’t you feel better already?

The only thing that would make it even better is adding some Infinite Love and Gratitude at the end.

Let us know how it’s working for you!