Relieving your stress and anxiety can be as easy as inhale, exhale by practicing a technique called The Relaxing Breath Method, or 4:7:8. It’s based on yoga practice breathing and made popular by Dr. Andrew Weil, who describes it as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system”. It’s a simple exercise that you can do in any situation to calm your thoughts and feelings by concentrating on your breathing rather than on your worries.
How Does It Work?
There’s two parts to your autonomic nervous system that work together to keep you in balance: the parasympathetic, the rest-and-digest response that calms your body down and the sympathetic, the fight-or-flight response that revs your body up. When stress and anxiety cause your fight-or-flight to go into overdrive, 4:7:8 activates your rest-and-digest so you can balance out, soothing that fight-or-flight response.
How Do You Do It?
Sit with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands relaxed. (It’s best to sit at first in case you feel a little lightheaded.) Rest your tongue up against your front teeth, do a big exhale through your mouth, then:
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to the count of 4
- Hold your breath to the count of 7
- Exhale completely through your mouth to the count of 8
That’s it! Repeat three more times for a total of four cycles to complete the exercise. As you continue to practice you can increase up to eight cycles when it feels comfortable for you.
It’s quick to learn and handy to use in any situation that’s stressful or to quell negative thoughts when they are running around in your head. Think of it as a preventative measure, something calming and soothing to focus on before you jump to act on whatever is nagging at you.
Using this method as a daily stress-reducing mindfulness exercise can help you get in the habit of taking things as they come. Use it in the morning to start your day in a positive way, practice it at lunch to get you through the afternoon and at night to help you fall asleep. Practice regularly, and you may find yourself overall a calmer, more settled and serene being.
If you, someone you know or someone you work with continues to struggle despite using relaxation techniques, Mental Health Support and Coaching could be beneficial. The Recovery Coach NY provides individual and family coaching, companions & transport, Intervention and emergency services for you and your loved ones. For more information and additional services, go to our website:
The Recovery Coach NY has years of experience and a vast array of resources that can help those in need find the path to the life they deserve, filled with joy and purpose. We come with an empathetic ear and solution-oriented actions that can begin to bring the relief you and your loved one seek.
You can reach out to Cindy Feinberg, President of The Recovery Coach NY via:
Phone or text: 631-921-4085
Through her website: www.therecoverycoachny.com