Feeling irritable and edgy, overwhelmed by little things, exhausted, or having difficulty concentrating? You may not realize it, but these are common symptoms of anxiety. If the thought of addressing these symptoms is too much, don't worry, there are little changes you can make that will help you begin to break free of these feelings and begin healing. Here’s one you can start with today!
Relaxing Breath, 4-7-8 technique
If you feel your anxiety level starting to build in the moment, believe it or not, taking some deep cleansing breaths can be all you need to help reset and move forward.
My favorite is this technique developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. It will only take a moment of your time and can be done virtually anywhere.
Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, right behind your front teeth.
Let all the air out of your mouth.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths. Focus on no more than 4 cycles in each session.
This breathing exercise is very calming to our involuntary nervous system. When we feel anxious we tend to hold our breath or to have shallow breathing, otherwise known as “under-breathing”. As we deprive our body of oxygen, it affects our ability to think clearly. This technique works because it is not possible for our bodies to be upset or anxious when breathing in this way.
Beginning and ending your day with this technique will be a great start to getting a handle on your anxiety. You can always use this throughout the day if you feel anxious anytime you need it. Being able to help identify when your anxiety is coming on, will allow you to take a moment, cycle through this breathing technique and, instead of the anxiety escalating, you can calmly approach the situation in a clear, more-focused way.
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