4-7-8 Breathing

4-7-8 Breathing

Created by Dr. Andrew Weil this is breathing exercise to help you relax: 
  1. First, let your lips part. Exhaling completely through your mouth.
  2. Next, close your lips, inhaling silently through your nose as you count to 4.
  3. Then, for 7 seconds, hold your breath.
  4. Make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds.

This is one repetition. Try to do at least 4. 

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How it’s done:  Inhale for a count of 4, then exhale for a count of 4, all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath. Once you manage it, you can go up to a count of 6.

It calm the nervous system, increase focus and reduce stress.

When it works best: Anytime, anyplace — but this is one technique that’s especially effective before bed.

Many of the techniques that have been formally researched are derived from pranayama, yogic breathing that dates back to ancient India:

  • Ujayyi: Deep breathing with a narrowed throat, creating an ocean-like sound, often recommended while doing yoga asanas.
  • Bhastrika, or “bellows breath”: inhaling and exhaling forcefully.
  • Nadi Sodhan and Anulom Vilom: Types of alternate nostril breathing, where air is inhaled in one nostril and exhaled through the other, sometimes with breath holding.

Although these shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for therapy or a cure for severe anxiety, they can be a free, simple tool for both short-term relief and long-term benefit.

According to Ackerman, the United States Navy Pre-Flight School created a routine to help pilots fall asleep in 2 minutes or less. It took pilots about 6 weeks of practice, but it worked — even after drinking coffee and with gunfire noises in the background.

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