Scientists say this is the single most effective all natural anxiety relief remedy.
Are you anxious?
Think back to how you’ve felt throughout the past month. Have you experienced any of the following?:
- Excessive worry, even when there are no signs of trouble
- Expecting the worst all of the time
- Chills or hot flashes
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Nervous or uncomfortable in social situations
Many of us just accept these feelings and, to some extent, they are normal. However, if you feel your anxiety is impeding your ability to succeed at work or school or be present with loved ones, it’s high time to conquer it once and for all.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million people, or 18 percent of the population, every year.
There is good news, though. For thousands of years, people have been using a breathing technique called 4-7-8 breathing that medical experts say is the single most effective approach to all-natural anxiety relief.
In fact, Dr. Weil, a Harvard medical doctor who is commonly known as the father of integrative medicine, says that this breathing exercise is “the single most powerful anti-anxiety measure” he has found – even more powerful than drugs when it comes to anxiety relief.
4-7-8 Breathing: This All Natural Anxiety Relief Hack Will Change Your Life
About 4-7-8 Breathing
For centuries, people have relied on 4-7-8 breathing to help with anxiety and stress relief.
The breathing method has its origins in experiential science in India. Known as pranayama in India – or “control of the life force” – breath work is central to health and vitality.
No matter where you are from or what external factor is causing your anxiety, we all experience disordered breathing when anxiety arises. Studies show that you quite literally cannot be anxious and breath slowly at the same time. In fact, some say that breathing is our body’s “built in stress reliever.”
Deep breathing not only relaxes the body, but has been scientifically proven to help our heart, brain, digestive and immune systems function. This particular breathing technique not only has an immediate impact on blood pressure but, more importantly, over time, can train your body’s reaction to stressful situations.
How 4-7-8 breathing works
Scientists have found that the amygdala, an almond-shaped set of neurons in our brain, is where anxiety originates. The communication hub between parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and those that interpret them, the amygdala triggers a fear response when it senses a threat is present.
The amygdala is part of our central nervous system that acts on its own. It is part of our “fight or flight response,” and reacts to stress to help us know when there is a threat or dangerous situation. This reaction, from an evolutionary standpoint, is helpful. When saber-toothed lions were coming our way, it was useful for our bodies to let us know! And when another car is about to hit ours, this response helps us react quickly.
However, today, genetic and environmental factors sometimes cause unnecessary stress reactions. For instance, if you jump when your phone rings, or your heart beats uncontrollably when you start to speak in front of a group, having a tool set of anti-anxiety measures in our back pockets can help calm our bodies down when they react too strongly to everyday situations.
Studies show that by imposing rhythms on our breath, gradually, our involuntary system begins to initiate a calmer response on its own, too. Therefore, the trick with 4-7-8 breathing is to practice it consistently over a long length of time. It’s not the intensity, but the regularity of the practice that seems to be key to the effectiveness of this all natural anxiety relief remedy.
How to practice 4-7-8 breathing
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise takes only a minute, requires no equipment and is completely free. That’s quite a deal for such a powerful tool you can take with you anywhere!
- Sit with your back straight.
- Place your tongue against the front roof of your mouth where your teeth meet your gums. Keep it here for the entire exercise.
- Exhale completely through your mouth making a “whooshing” sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to four.
- Hold your breath for seven counts.
- Exhale through your mouth while counting to eight.
Each cycle is one full breath. Repeat three more times, for a total of four breaths, twice a day.
A few tips
- Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique once in the morning and once at night.
- After one month, you can increase your breath cycles to eight cycles, twice a day.
- How quickly or slowly you count doesn’t matter too much – remember, the trick with 4-7-8 breathing is your consistency in practicing it.
- You should begin to notice real benefits after about 8 weeks.
Some situations in which 4-7-8 breathing may come in handy include:
- During a difficult night’s sleep
- When you’re experiencing a food craving
- When someone says something that bothers you
- During your work day for help focusing
Ways to enhance your 4-7-8 breathing practice:
- Cover your eyes with a wet washcloth dabbed with a few essential oils.
- Practice it while you are doing yoga.
- Set an alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time to breath to help keep your practice consistent.
- Light a candle and focus on its flame while you are breathing.
- Mark eight weeks from the day you started on your calendar so you can check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling.
Are you ready to take charge of your anxiety?
At Healthy Human Life, our mission is to Live Life Healthy. If you found this tip helpful, come visit our blog for tons of more health hacks that will help you live your best life.
Need some recipes to pair with this technique that will help calm your body and mind? Give these a try:
Did you try the exercise?
Did you try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise? What else do you do to keep your calm in stressful situation? Let us know how it went in the comments below.