Today I want to share a simple strategy that you can use to relieve stress, let go of anxiety, and promote relaxation.
It’s called 4-7-8 breathing and I teach it to all of my patients as a tool to keep stress from impacting their health.
This is just one of the stress-relieving strategies we teach in my clinic, but it’s one of my favorites because it’s completely free, really easy to do, and only takes a few minutes.
It’s based on a principle called rhythmic breathing, which is a core part of meditation and yoga practices, and it’s been used for centuries to help clear the mind and relax the body.
I’ll walk you through how to do it and then I’ll explain the science behind how it works.
How to Use the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
You’ll start by sitting down and resting the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, right behind your front teeth.
Next, exhale fully through your mouth to empty your lungs.
Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds. Gently hold your breath for 7 seconds. And finally, exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds.
You can keep your eyes open or closed, whichever is more comfortable for you. And if you’re doing the practice before bedtime you can do it lying down instead of sitting.
I tell my patients to use this practice for 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes before bed, and every time you take a bathroom break. That way you start and end the day in a place of relaxation, and keep stress from building up in between.
Now that you know how to use the practice, let’s talk about why it works.
How the 4-7-8 Helps You Relieve Stress
Deep breathing regulates the fight-or-flight response triggered by the stress hormone cortisol putting you back in a state of balance.
It gives your brain and organs a much-needed oxygen boost, slows your heart rate, and can lower or stabilize your blood pressure.
Unlike conventional medicine, which often takes a “pill for every ill” approach, at GrassRoots we recognize that there are many tools in the wellness toolbox.
We take a personalized, comprehensive approach to restoring your health by addressing ALL of the factors that contribute to disease. This includes lifestyle strategies for nutrition, stress relief, toxin exposures, infections, and much more.
This approach takes hard work and commitment, but the long-term health you’ll gain in the process is more than worth it.
About the Author: Dr. Seth Osgood is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) Certified Practitioner. Dr. Osgood received his post-graduate training in Functional Medicine through the IFM and from working with Dr. Amy Myers. He has helped people from around the world improve their health utilizing a Functional Medicine approach.
Want to work with Dr. Osgood and the GrassRoots team? Become a patient in our West Lebanon, New Hampshire Functional Medicine clinic, our Burlington, Vermont Functional Medicine clinic, or our Austin, Texas Functional Medicine clinic!