Take a 4-7-8 Breath Break

I love finding easy strategies to help minimize the negative effects of the stressed lifestyle so many of us lead.

Today I want to teach you a simple technique that you can use any time you want to calm your mind and body. It’s called the “4-7-8 Breath.”

I learned this practice from a Dr. Andrew Weil audio program called Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing. Dr. Weil says that he teaches this technique to all of his patients. He calls it a “natural tranquilizer for your nervous system.”

People have been using breathing techniques to relax, focus their mind, and shift their consciousness for thousands of years.  Research has proven that various breathing techniques can be beneficial in treating conditions such as anxiety, asthma, depression, fibromyalgia, headaches, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, hot flashes, insomnia, irritable bowel disease, and pain.

Breathing techniques work by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to promote a deep sense of relaxation and brings with it all of the positive physiological changes that occur when you relax deeply. (We’ll get into that in another newsletter.)

Enough talk…this is how you do it:

  • Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth.

  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four.

  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.

  • Now exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four cycles of 4-7-8 breaths.


Simple, right!

Practice this a couple of times a day just to get comfortable with the practice. After that use it anytime you need a quick and powerful relaxation tool:


  • Before a meeting or presentation

  • Any time you feel yourself getting tense or agitated

  • Daily, to start your morning, or at the end of a stressful day

  • As you lie down at night, to help you quiet your mind and fall asleep

  • The point is that you can do this anytime you want to promote a deep sense of calm and inner peace.



October 27, 2013

Dr. Russell Charno