The 4-7-8-Breath: How I Stopped Anxiety in It’s Tracks

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Dr. Weil claims that the 4-7-8- breathing technique is the single best anti-anxiety method he has ever tried.

It is a simple method that is said to effectively stop inner turbulence in its tracks, as it creates inner peace almost immediately, and soothes the body’s inflammatory reaction to stress hormones.

Modern lifestyles have put our body in a constant state of fight-or-flight, which leads to increased blood pressure, shallow breathing, increased stress hormones, and panic and anxiety attacks.

However, this popular technique developed by India’s yogis quickly relaxes the mind and treats all these symptoms. Here is how to perform it:

  • Sit in a comfortable position, straight up, and place the tip of the tongue on the ridge of the gums, just under the front teeth
  • Expand the diaphragm and slowly inhale through the nose for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7
  • Slightly open your mouth and exhale for 8 counts, drawing the diaphragm in
  • Repeat the cycle four times.

Afterward, you might feel a bit light-headed, but it will pass soon.

Dr. Andrew Weil claims that this method provides instant effects, but its real power comes with regular, daily use, at least twice daily, for 8 weeks. After some time, you will breathe more deeply without giving it any extra thought, and you will be fascinated by the positive effects.

The overall concept of the 4-7-8 breathing technique can be compared to practices such as the following:

  • Mindfulness meditation, as it stimulates focused breathing while guiding the attention to the present moment.
  • Visualization, which focuses the mind on the path and pattern of natural breathing
  • Guided imagery, since it makes you focus on a happy memory or a past story in order to take the mind off your worries as you breathe
  • Alternate nostril breathing, which includes breathing in and out of one nostril at a time while the other nostril is held closed


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