This is a very simple technique that activates your body’s natural relaxation response. You may be surprised at just how easily you let you go a little bit more with each breath. It is highly effective to use when you are aware that your level of anxiety is beginning to compromise the clarity of your thoughts, or as you feel a panic attack beginning.




Breathe in to the count of 4

Hold your breath to the count of 7

Breathe out gradually to the count of 8

Initially, repeat up to 3 times to a total of 4

After practise, total can be extended up to 8


It is important that your breath should be from your diaphragm, and not up in your chest and shoulders. Your shoulders should not rise at all on the in-breath. Rather your stomach should extend on the in-breath and deflate on the out-breath.


If you are often stressed, the exercise may take some practise as we often have quite a shallow and fast breath, or even hold our breath, when we are worried or pressured. You may want to start by counting quite quickly to make the exercise as easy as possible but, as you get better at this, you can slow the counting down to make each cycle of breathing longer.


It is also helpful to focus on the counting as this takes your mind away from its ruminating on worrying thoughts or feelings.


Begin by practising this exercise daily, at times when you are already relatively calm. You can be curious as to how quickly your daily base level of anxiety reduces. Once the exercise has become a habit for you, it will be easier to use when you really need it.


Alternative version…


This simply excludes the middle section where you hold your breath. Instead:


Breathe in to the count of 4

Breathe out gradually to the count of 8

This version you can repeat more often, perhaps totalling 20 breaths


To find out how Sarah can further help you combat stress and anxiety, please contact her.

By | 2014-08-04T15:27:29+00:00 June 23rd, 2013|Anxiety|0 Comments

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