Now that summer is drawing to a close and fall is upon us, many of us may be feeling the extra pressure of starting new things, whether that is school or more responsibilities at work.
There are lifestyle changes we can make to help us deal better with stress over the long term, but sometimes the fight-or-flight response takes over when we are momentarily unable to stop our racing thoughts.
Recently I’ve been more anxious than usual because of a lot of changes now taking place in my life. Fortunately, I remembered a technique I’ve written about before and am finding it to be very effective in calming the nerves.
This is the 4-7-8 exercise. It’s very easy and works quickly.
- Take a deep breath through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath in for 7 seconds.
- Exhale through slightly pursed lips for 8 seconds.
- Repeat the process 4-6 times. Take a break and breathe normally, then do a few more rounds if you like.
If you have difficulty holding your breath for 7 counts, then try inhaling for 3, holding for 6, and exhaling for 7.
With practice you will get used to inhaling and exhaling more slowly.
Use it whenever you feel anxious or tense. Over time, it will increase in effectiveness. Try to practice it 4 times a day. Once you start practicing regularly, it will make a big difference in your life. It’s very useful for falling asleep, or if you wake in the middle of the night. Everyone can benefit from doing this simple but powerful exercise.
“Keep Calm and Carry On.”