The 19 Second Anxiety Solution — The Simple Breathing Technique You Wish You’d Known All Along
When anxiety or extreme feelings of stress hit you, it is understandable to wish for a magic pill to take. What is the easiest way to get rid of anxiety fast? As you probably already know, there is no magic pill; however, there is an effective and fast breathing technique to help you in situations of acute stress. This technique only takes 19 seconds to complete, and its results have been long studied and verified by health practitioners studying Ayurveda—the ancient system of medicine popular in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Ayurveda looks at the body as a whole and focuses on diet and natural means of healing. Breathwork—a general term denoting a variety of breathing practices across several useful applications—and yoga are an important part of this mind-body health system.
Ayurveda is at least 5,000 years old. Standing the test of time, today it has made its way across the world to inspire North American doctors and health practitioners to use it in their practices as well.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician of functional integrative medicine—a holistic approach that treats the body as a whole—has created the 19-second breathing technique as inspired by yogic breathwork.
The official name of this breathing technique is the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise. This technique works by calming down the nervous system and alleviating stress, anxiety, and even insomnia.
How Breathing Exercises Work
Breath is one of the most important parts of vitality. It is in the same group as food, water, and sleep. Unfortunately, many people—due to stress or health issues—never breathe fully. Fast and shallow breathing is common, and it has been a known fact that few people breathe properly these days.
Do you ever feel like you are running out of breath and suddenly need to take a large inhale when you are not even doing physical activity?
Breathing makes up so much of our everyday life, health, and wellness, even voice practitioners are saying that, as a collective, we are not breathing correctly. Focusing on breathing right can prevent many illnesses, fight stress, and makes you feel better about yourself and life as a whole.
When it comes to health, proper breathing can help treat asthma, high blood pressure, pain, and body posture. When it comes to the mind, proper breathing will help you stay more positive, and even open your mind more to new ideas and positive life changes.
Proper breathing requires taking slow and deep breaths that fill your lungs with air, fully expanding your chest and abdomen in the process. To practice proper breathing, it can help to keep one of your hands on the stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in such a way that you will actually see your hands moving as the chest and the stomach both expand.
While breathing, mentally scan your whole body for signs of tension. When you find tension, release it. Release the tension your shoulders, your neck, your facial muscles, and the rest of your body. It will be easier for your body to breathe correctly, naturally, when you are relaxed.
4-7-8 Breathing Technique Explained
Breathing properly all the time is the goal. If you are a beginner, to get you there from where you are now, doing breathing exercises is a great way to start. It is also an easy and fast way to allow your body to fully relax during stressful situations.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique can be done sitting or lying down. Choose which way is more comfortable for you.
To prepare yourself for this breathwork, exhale fully through your mouth and quiet your mind.
Once grounded, inhale through the nose for the first four counts. Hold your breath for seven counts. Finally, exhale for eight counts through your mouth.
Repeat these three steps until you feel a peaceful disposition come over you. That’s it! It’s really just that simple… And effective.
For chronic stress, it is recommended to repeat this breathing technique twice a day for at least six weeks.
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