4-7-8 breathing is a stress-relieving, relaxation-inducing breathing technique. It is helpful to tune into when feelings of stress, anxiety or tension arise – or even when you’re having trouble getting to sleep. This technique relies on the ratio of breathing in through your nose for 4 seconds, holding that breath for 7 seconds, and then exhaling for 8 seconds. This ratio helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which puts your body into a state of rest.
The good news is that you can practice the 4-7-8 technique anywhere anytime, because all you need is yourself! Here is a quick rundown:
- Sit down in a comfortable upright position.
- Completely let go of whatever breath you’re holding, exhale.
- With your lips closed, inhale through your nose for four counts.
- Then hold your breath for seven counts.
- Next, exhale slowly for eight counts.
Feel free to repeat this four times, and then work your way up to eight cycles.
This is a simple and powerful technique to add into your stress relief toolbox that can help prevent the detrimental effects of stress on the body and mind.