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Give This a Try: 4-7-8 Breathing

Does raising a family seem REALLY difficult sometimes? Does it ever feel like the world is closing in and you can't breathe and it's all just too much?

Yeah, we feel all that. In those moments, it would be lovely to have a community of support to take care of us, or an amazing therapist on call to talk it out. But for most of us, we're in the middle of the chaos: stuck in traffic on the way home from picking the kids up from preschool, or scrambling to get dinner on the table. And we need relief fast.

In these scenarios, we suggest giving 4-7-8 breathing a try.

What it is and how to do it

It's based on an ancient yogic breathing technique called pranayama that actually has some science behind it. First, the technique:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds.

Experts like Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine recommend doing it no more than 4 times in a row because you could get lightheaded. Experienced 4-7-8ers can go up to 8 times in a row.

The science

Why and how does 4-7-8 breathing work?

When we experience stress and anxiety, the body goes into a "fight or flight" response – what is also known as sympathetic nervous system activation. When we feel safe and supported, the body goes into a "rest and digest" response – what is also known as parasympathetic nervous system activation.

Inhaling just barely activates the fight or flight response. And exhaling just barely activates the rest and digest response. So, when make our exhales longer than our inhales, we're shifting the body slightly into a rest and digest mode. We can do the opposite by taking long inhales and short, fast exhales. You can read more on the science behind this here and here.

Give This a Try: 4-7-8 Breathing

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Give This a Try: 4-7-8 Breathing

Life can get crazy sometimes! Next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, try re-centering yourself with this 4-7-8 breathing technique.

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Does raising a family seem REALLY difficult sometimes? Does it ever feel like the world is closing in and you can't breathe and it's all just too much?

Yeah, we feel all that. In those moments, it would be lovely to have a community of support to take care of us, or an amazing therapist on call to talk it out. But for most of us, we're in the middle of the chaos: stuck in traffic on the way home from picking the kids up from preschool, or scrambling to get dinner on the table. And we need relief fast.

In these scenarios, we suggest giving 4-7-8 breathing a try.

What it is and how to do it

It's based on an ancient yogic breathing technique called pranayama that actually has some science behind it. First, the technique:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds.

Experts like Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine recommend doing it no more than 4 times in a row because you could get lightheaded. Experienced 4-7-8ers can go up to 8 times in a row.

The science

Why and how does 4-7-8 breathing work?

When we experience stress and anxiety, the body goes into a "fight or flight" response – what is also known as sympathetic nervous system activation. When we feel safe and supported, the body goes into a "rest and digest" response – what is also known as parasympathetic nervous system activation.

Inhaling just barely activates the fight or flight response. And exhaling just barely activates the rest and digest response. So, when make our exhales longer than our inhales, we're shifting the body slightly into a rest and digest mode. We can do the opposite by taking long inhales and short, fast exhales. You can read more on the science behind this here and here.

Does raising a family seem REALLY difficult sometimes? Does it ever feel like the world is closing in and you can't breathe and it's all just too much?

Yeah, we feel all that. In those moments, it would be lovely to have a community of support to take care of us, or an amazing therapist on call to talk it out. But for most of us, we're in the middle of the chaos: stuck in traffic on the way home from picking the kids up from preschool, or scrambling to get dinner on the table. And we need relief fast.

In these scenarios, we suggest giving 4-7-8 breathing a try.

What it is and how to do it

It's based on an ancient yogic breathing technique called pranayama that actually has some science behind it. First, the technique:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds.

Experts like Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine recommend doing it no more than 4 times in a row because you could get lightheaded. Experienced 4-7-8ers can go up to 8 times in a row.

The science

Why and how does 4-7-8 breathing work?

When we experience stress and anxiety, the body goes into a "fight or flight" response – what is also known as sympathetic nervous system activation. When we feel safe and supported, the body goes into a "rest and digest" response – what is also known as parasympathetic nervous system activation.

Inhaling just barely activates the fight or flight response. And exhaling just barely activates the rest and digest response. So, when make our exhales longer than our inhales, we're shifting the body slightly into a rest and digest mode. We can do the opposite by taking long inhales and short, fast exhales. You can read more on the science behind this here and here.

Does raising a family seem REALLY difficult sometimes? Does it ever feel like the world is closing in and you can't breathe and it's all just too much?

Yeah, we feel all that. In those moments, it would be lovely to have a community of support to take care of us, or an amazing therapist on call to talk it out. But for most of us, we're in the middle of the chaos: stuck in traffic on the way home from picking the kids up from preschool, or scrambling to get dinner on the table. And we need relief fast.

In these scenarios, we suggest giving 4-7-8 breathing a try.

What it is and how to do it

It's based on an ancient yogic breathing technique called pranayama that actually has some science behind it. First, the technique:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds.

Experts like Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine recommend doing it no more than 4 times in a row because you could get lightheaded. Experienced 4-7-8ers can go up to 8 times in a row.

The science

Why and how does 4-7-8 breathing work?

When we experience stress and anxiety, the body goes into a "fight or flight" response – what is also known as sympathetic nervous system activation. When we feel safe and supported, the body goes into a "rest and digest" response – what is also known as parasympathetic nervous system activation.

Inhaling just barely activates the fight or flight response. And exhaling just barely activates the rest and digest response. So, when make our exhales longer than our inhales, we're shifting the body slightly into a rest and digest mode. We can do the opposite by taking long inhales and short, fast exhales. You can read more on the science behind this here and here.

Enjoying this article? Subscribe to the Yes Collective for more expert emotional wellness just for parents.

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