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Suppress Your Stress

Here is a simple, effective breathing exercise that helps reduce stress from Dr. Andrew Weil ( www.drweil.com). Weil is a best- selling author known for his work in integrative medicine.

Exercise: 4-7-8

This exercise is simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do it in any position, sit with your back straight while learning. Start by placing the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely 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 breaths.

Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio. With practice you can slow it down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

The results of this exercise will increase the more you use it. Use it to relieve internal tension. It can also help you fall asleep.

Tip:  Taking the time to relieve your stress will help you think more clearly, be a more effective problem-solver and help you regain perspective in both your work and home life.


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