Life’s daily stresses and challenges are increasingly causing people to feel anxious and lose sleep. That’s where learning simple exercises to help us relax our minds and body are crucial.
In the following video, Dr. Andrew Weill demonstrates the 4-7-8 breathing technique (also called the “relaxing breath”) that he has passed along to his patients, fellow doctors, students and friends. This breathing exercise is an anti-anxiety tool to help relieve tension and stress. It can also be used to calm yourself during unsettling events, to deal with unhealthy cravings and to help you fall asleep.
Weill’s technique is very simple and takes under a minute to do. Although you can do the exercise in any position, Weill recommends sitting with your back straight. To start, Dr. Weill explains to “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.”
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Dr. Weill points out that you will need to practice the breathing method twice a day for four to six weeks before putting it to use and reaping the benefits.
There are many popular breathing exercises that are part of activities such as yoga and Tai Chi which support that conscious breathing has the power to relax the body and mind!
Anyone can benefit from the 4-7-8 breathing exercise and as it does not cost anything, there is nothing to lose by giving it a try! I know I’m going to give it a go.
Share this health tip with your family and friends!