This breathing technique will help you calm down almost immediately

I’m a very active person, and I demand a lot of myself. I take on a lot of work, take care of my family, study new things all the time and exercise. Can everything be done? The way I see it, yes, it can. But as long as you don’t end up hurting yourself in the process.

I used to think that being organized and having a well prioritized to do list was enough to get everything done. But then it took the toll on my health. I got some nervous tics, anxiety and cold hands. People used to tell me that I had to slow down. But what does this really mean? 

When you ask a lot of yourself your sympathetic nervous system starts “running” faster. This is the system that activates the fight-or-flight response. However, it needs a counterbalance. And that’s the parasympathetic nervous system, which restores the body and provides calm. We tend to activate the sympathetic nervous system with our fast-paced life choices (I know I do), but don’t really take care of the opposite side of the coin as often.

Here’s a common myth: self-care takes time. Reality: not as much time as you think.

I recently found a super fast and helpful technique called 4-7-8 Breath developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. Conscious breathing is very helpful to improve your mental and physical state. This exercise, also known as Relaxing Breath, is a great ally to combat stress, anxiety and tension. As the name suggests, you feel relaxed almost immediately because breathwork has a direct connection with your nervous system. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Exhale until you have no air in you. 
  2. Place the tip of your tongue against the line between your upper front teeth and your palate. 
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  5. Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Make sure to let all the air out. You’ll notice a whooshing sound. 
  6. Repeat from step 2 to step 4 three more times for a total of four cycles. 
  7. Extra tip: if you close your eyes you’ll feel a deeper relaxation.

After doing the breathing exercise take a few seconds to come back into your routine and enjoy the state of calm you’ll be in. I like to take a couple of extra deep breaths and that put me in a better mental state and, eventually, in a better physical state. 

What Dr. Weil recommends doing this twice a day. It’s a great tool to calm yourself if you’re about to react to a difficult situation, to fall asleep faster or to control a rush of anxiety. It’s also super helpful to fight food cravings. It’ll put you in the right mental place to analyze why you are craving a certain food and pause before deciding to eat it. 

Picture: Pexels

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