The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a 'natural tranquiliser for the nervous system'.
The technique is based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that means 'regulation of breath. 4-7-8 is such a powerful technique because it allows oxygen to better fill the lungs. This extra oxygen can have a relaxing effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.
' …You can use it if you can’t fall asleep, or in stressful, anxious situations- just stop, sit upright and start the 4-7-8 breathing technique.Use it whenever anything upsetting happens - before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension."
Here is how it’s done:
- First exhale completely through your mouth while making a 'whoosh' sound- count mentally to 8.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4.
- Now hold your breath for a count of 7.
After this time has elapsed, exhale completely through your mouth, making another whoosh sound for 8 second in one large breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three times for a total of four breaths.
Note: You always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth.
Note:The tip of your tongue stays in position (behind the upper teeth) the whole time.