Mental Health

The Best Invisible Breathing Exercise For Stress and Anxiety

Stress is a huge health trigger for me. Throughout my undergraduate education, stress creeped up on me all the time, and I thought it was just a side effect of life and impossible to combat. When graduate school hit, stress was so debilitating that I knew there had to be a better way.

Stress & The Short Story

In the future, I’ll talk more about my experience with adrenal fatigue, stress, and anxiety. It’s quite a long story (I’m sure many of you can relate). In short, I was unofficially (I took an at-home mail-in hormone spit test.) diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, which I liken to diabetes for stress. Basically, you spike your stress levels so high all the time that your body just kinda gives up and either over or underproduces cortisol all the time – kind of like when you body stops producing insulin after too many sugar comas.

It can take 18-24 months to recover from the point I was at when I realized what was going on, and that was about 10 months ago. It’s not easy rewiring your brain to stop being reactive (although, supposedly it can be done – I’m not there yet!). If you think this sounds like you, I would recommend taking the test (linked above). It’s not an ad or anything; I just think it’s good to know where you stand if something might be wrong.

For today, I want to share an easy tip to silently and invisible combat your stress levels no matter where you are. I love this because sometimes it’s not possible to get to a yoga mat or even find a quiet, private place when a trigger spikes your cortisol levels. You can use this method any time and nobody will ever know what you’re doing or why you’re doing it.

4-7-8

I call this breathing technique “4-7-8”. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, breathe out for 8 counts. When your exhale becomes longer than your inhale, it helps transition your body out of fight-or-flight mode and back into a restorative mode.

We’ve talked before about how breath is anchoring and how mastery of the breath can help you regain control of your body. Well, try this technique right now and see how it works for yourself!

Breathe in for 4 – 3 – 2 – 1. And when you reach the top, hold it. Feel the tapas for 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1. Release with control for 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.

You might already feel an ounce better, but take a few cycles if you need to. This practice will force your body and brain to slow down and allow you to regain a sense of clarity and focus.

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Much love,

K

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