If your stress levels are at an all-time high, or you simply need to re-focus after starting at your computer screen all day, this simple breathing exercise may be the key to decompressing in 5 minutes or less.
Breathwork is a useful way to de-stress and calm down the system. There are a variety of methods you can use, all of which have different results on the nervous system. Some are used for meditation, others for relaxation, anxiety and sleep.
The 4-7-8 technique is great for those who are learning to meditate, need help unwinding at the end of the day or can't fall asleep at night. This technique is based on a form of yogic breathing and can be very useful for slowing down your heart rate and calming a racing mind.
As the name implies, you follow a breathing pattern of 4-7-8
Lie down flat on your back, or seated in a chair, back upright.
Breathe in through your nose deeply for 4 seconds - all the way to your stomach and toes
Hold your breath for 7 seconds - focusing on keeping your breath in your belly rather than your chest
Slowly exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds - begin the exhale with a strong push, then slowly relax
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
This technique can feel daunting at first, as if you won't be able to hold your breathe that long! But after a few tries, you will begin to notice a few changes, both mentally and physically. Your head feels lighter, your body sinks into the ground or bed. You feel more focused, but calm at the same time.
Give it a try! Post in the comments below if you've tried this technique or how you feel once you do.