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A Fabulous 10 Minute Breathing Exercise

As a specialist in treating anxiety one of the simplest and easiest things I recommend to clients is this powerful breathing exercise, that highly compliments the core NLP and Hypnotherapy I do. Having a simple, quick, breathing exercise to use on a regular basis is so important to help with relaxation and to significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Check out my top 5 tips for reducing anxiety if you would like more ideas.

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. Each breath should feel controlled and comfortable.

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale a deep breath quietly through your nose to a mental count of four, taking in the breath from your abdomen and then moving up to your chest.
  3. Hold your breath comfortably for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. You may need to exhale quite forcefully whilst still controlling the breath.

This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times.

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. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. 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. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. 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.

For a confidential discussion contact me and arrange your free introductory session.

 

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