How to Use the 4-7-8 Breathing Method for Your Anxiety

Jul 19, 2022 | Inhale l Exhale

How to Use the 4-7-8 Breathing Method for Your Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues that many of us are suffering from. It is why you must know how to use the 4-7-8 method for your anxiety and other respiratory issues. But what is this method all about? How is it helpful to you? 

What is the 4-7-8 Breathing Method?

Perhaps one of the most common breathing methods practiced by yoga practitioners is the 4-7-8 method. Dr. Andrew Weil developed this breathing pattern method based on the ancient yogic technique called Pranayama. It helps people who practice this breathing gain control over their breathing. Practicing this method regularly could help one fall asleep in just a few minutes. As Dr. Weil said, this is a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system”.

How Does the 4-7-8 Breathing Method Work?

All breathing techniques are designed to help the body relax and fall into a state of deep sleep over time, so your body can replenish oxygen. With the 4-7-8 method, you can give the organs and tissues in the body the much-needed boost. 

The practice of the 4-7-8 technique forces the body and mind to concentrate on regulating the breath. It also reduces the heart rate level and relaxes the nerves. Overall, the central concept of 4-7-8 breathing techniques can be compared to practices like alternative nostril breathing, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, and visualization. All of which focus on breathing as you are paying attention to the present [1]. 

If you are suffering from anxiety and stress, you may find these techniques helpful in overcoming distractions as you slip into a more relaxed state. You may even feel lightheaded at first, but practicing it twice a day can yield better results compared to practicing it once. 

How to Practice the 4-7-8 Method

To truly gain the benefits of this technique, you must practice the 4-7-8 at least twice a day. You can also do this often as you want, but you can only practice this for four cycles in a row if you are just starting. Once you get used to the cycle, you can move the notch to eight cycles. So, how can you perform this?

  1. First, find a comfortable position with your back straight.
  2. Next, place your tongue at the back of your teeth and keep it in place.
  3. By exhaling entirely through your mouth around your tongue, create a whooshing sound as you do through pursed lips. 
  4. After that, close your lips and inhale through your nose as you count to four. 
  5. Hold your breath as you count to seven. 
  6. Exhale through your mouth by making a whooshing sound as you count to eight. 

These steps make up the first cycle and repeat the same process for three more cycles. As you inhale again, you are initiating a new cycle of breathing. Practice this pattern for four more full breaths. Holding your breath for seven seconds is the most crucial part of this practice. 

Remember NOT to practice this technique when you are not fully relaxed. Although this is not used to put yourself to sleep, it is practiced for a deep state of relaxation. Make sure you don’t need to stay put after practicing your breathing cycles before doing anything so your body can adjust. 

As you practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique, your body can benefit from it in many ways. Among these benefits include:

  • It helps reduce your anxieties after two months of practicing.
  • Sleep improves after your body adjusts to the relaxation techniques. 
  • It helps lower blood pressure after five minutes of practicing. 
  • Your concentration improves, and you have fewer negative emotions. 
  • You feel lesser pain, tension, anger, and depression. 

In Closing

Breathing techniques are alternative ways you can practice to help your anxieties and promote relaxation. The use of the 4-7-8 breathing method for your anxiety is one method of the techniques that can give you those benefits. Practicing this each day will surely help you in a big way.