November 2011 - Instant Stress Release
The 4,7,8 Breathing Technique
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Are you troubled by anxiety or panic attacks? Do you feel overwhelmed and stressed out? Do you get nervous before interviews, taking exams or in social situations? Rest assured, you’re not alone. Anxiety seems to be rampant in our society today and one of the major issues I see when clients come to me.
I want to share with you a simple breathing process that can help you release anxiety and stress in as little as 2 – 3 minutes. I’ve even had clients who have trouble sleeping who tell me they use this technique in bed at night to successfully help them fall asleep.
Here’s why this process is so effective. Your body’s nervous system is called your Autonomic Nervous System. You’ve got two branches of it, the Sympathetic Nervous System and the ParaSympathetic Nervous System. Your Sympathetic Nervous System is what’s operating when you’re stressed. You can tell by your breath itself if you’re stressed. You’ll notice your breathing is shallow, or worse yet you might even find you’re holding your breath when stressed. Unfortunately most people are operating in their Sympathetic Nervous System all too often. Your Parasympathetic Nervous System however is the branch of your nervous system that’s operating when you’re relaxed, calm and at ease. You can tell if you’re relaxed because your breathing is deep and rhythmic. Simply practicing this simple breathing exercise can immediately shift you from your stressed out Sympathetic Nervous System to your ParaSympathetic Nervous System. By practicing a few rounds you will find yourself feeling more calm and clear headed. When first practicing this you may notice feeling a bit light headed which is normal if you’re not use to deep breathing. With practice you should soon be able to do up to 8 rounds of it without that light headed feeling. You want to do several rounds of it until you feel a shift. Just make sure you don’t practice while driving.
The easiest and most effective technique I’ve found is the 4,7,8 Breathing Technique. Dr. Andrew Weil, MD calls: Mindful Breathing Techniques. I hope you enjoy this article and your practice. Remember if you’d like to permanently release the root cause of your anxiety, panic attacks or overwhelm, consider a session or two of hypnosis.
Mindful Breathing Exercises Created by Dr. Andrew Weil, MD
"Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders."
The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
The key to this exercise is to remember the numbers 4, 7 and 8. It’s not important to focus on how much time you spend in each phase of the breathing activity, but rather that you get the ratio correct.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Sit up straight
- Place the tip of your tongue up against the back of your front teeth. Keep it there through the entire breathing process
- Breathe in silently through your nose to the count of four
- Hold your breath to the count of seven
- Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight, making an audible “woosh” sound
- That completes one full breath. Repeat the cycle another three times, for a total of four breaths
You can do this exercise as frequently as you want throughout the day, but it’s recommended you don’t do more than four full breaths during the first month or so of practice. Later you may work your way up to eight full breath cycles at a time.
The benefits of this simple practice are enormous and work as a natural tranquilizer for your nervous system.
Personally, I think one of its greatest values may be gained when you combine it with your meals. Most of us eat three meals a day, so it makes remembering to do it easier. Also, I believe that combining it with the attitude of gratitude for the healthy meal you just ate, or are about to eat, can have a powerful, beneficial influence on your health.
Learn 2 More Powerful Breathing Exercises at:
To Learn Even More About the Benefits of Healthy Breathing, Go To:
The web site www.breathing.com offers a list of clinical studies into the health benefits of optimal breathing. One such study, which spanned a 30-year period, concluded that the most significant factor in your health and longevity is how well you breathe.
It focused on the long-term predictive power of forced exhalation volume as the primary marker for life span. According to the researchers,
"This pulmonary function measurement appears to be an indicator of general health and vigor and literally a measure of living capacity."
It’s also important to realize that much of hypertension is controlled by the way you breathe, so breathing exercises are an excellent adjunct to your other healthy liftestyle strategies to control high blood pressure..
Breathing exercises such as the one I showed you above have a positive impact on your:
- Respiratory system, which can reduce mental and physical fatigue, as well as relieve symptoms of asthma and bronchitis
- Circulatory system; improving blood circulation and cell oxygenation throughout your body
- Nervous system
- Digestive system, by acting as a pump to massage internal organs
- Endocrine system. The action of your diaphragm helps push lymph throughout your body, which helps eliminate toxic waste and strengthen your immune system
- Urinary system, by helping to eliminate fluids and massaging your kidneys
- Skin. Toxic CO2 waste is eliminated more directly through your breath, and your skin can also be positively affected by improved blood flow and oxygenation
Breathing Your Way to Optimal Health
Best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything but a couple of minutes of your time! And, if you commit to it, I believe you’ll be absolutely shocked, and pleasantly surprised, by how quickly and easily it can center and relax you and allow you to achieve high levels of health. Enjoy your practice!
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