Just Breathe

Boy, was the month of September a busy one! I and my family enjoyed a very relaxing and enjoyable summer. However, September came and swept us back into getting things done mode.  I noticed my system suddenly pushed into high gear.

For many of us, moving into high gear means moving, doing and thinking a lot. If we aren’t careful, all this moving, thinking and doing can end up leading to stress which can have long term detrimental effects on our emotions, our health and our relationships.

Fortunately, there are a number of well documented techniques for slowing things back down. One of my favorites is the 4-7-8 breath technique. I learned this from Andrew Weil. Dr. Weil is one of the countries foremost authorities on integrative medicine.

4-7-8 breath helps deactivate the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for fight or flight response) and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for resting and renewing). Dr. Weil recommends four cycles of this breath twice per day for one month.

Here are the instructions:

  1. Take in a deep breath and let it out.
  2. Next inhale through your nose for a count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale through pursed lips for a count of eight.
  5. Repeat four cycles of this breath.

Easy, right? I’m a believer myself. This strategy helped me shift gears back to a more productive and comfortable place during the September rush. Give it a try for a month and let me know how it works for you.