Self-Care for Relaxation

By Johanna Green, RN, HN-BC

Breath Technique

Have you been in a situation where your heart is racing or maybe you felt overwhelmed? Anxiety creeping it's way into your thoughts and entire body? One of the easiest ways to calm your self is through deep slow breathing. Breathing is free and portable. So try this easy breathing technique that is designed to bring the body into a state of relaxation. Specific patterns that involve holding the breath for a period of time allow your body to replenish its oxygen. From the lungs outward, techniques like 4-7-8 can give your organs and tissues a much-needed oxygen boost. Also, slowing down the heart rate and calming the mind.

How to do it:

To practice 4-7-8 breathing, find a place to sit or lie down comfortably.

The following steps should all be carried out in the cycle of one breath:

  1. First, let your lips part. Make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth.
  2. Next, close your lips, inhaling silently through your nose as you count to four in your head.
  3. Then, for seven seconds, hold your breath.
  4. Make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.

When you inhale again, you initiate a new cycle of breath. Practice this pattern for four full breaths.

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