The 4-7-8 relaxation breathing sequence really works. I learned the 4-7-8 breathing practice from the writings of Drs. Andrew Weil. The technique shifts the autonomic nervous system away from the sympathetic predominance (which makes our hearts race and our palms sweaty when we face a stressful situation) and allows the parasympathetic nervous system to shine. It also “preoccupies” the brain with counting which keeps your mind off of your daily “to do” list and on relaxing! It’s perfect as a before bed routine or even if you wake up in the middle of the night. Try it for 1 week, I am confident you will notice a difference!

Here’s how you do it:

o     While sitting or lying down

o     Place the tip of your tongue up against the roof

of your mouth. Keep it there through the entire breathing process. o Breathe in silently through your nose to the slow count of 4.

o     Hold your breath to the count of 7.

o     Exhale through your mouth to the count of 8, making a slight audible sound.

o     Repeat the 4-7-8 cycle another three times, for a total of four breathing exercises.

Does breathing really work to train our nervous system to find a calm place from which we can manage life more successfully?

Thousands of years of practice in many religious traditions say that it does. Recent scientific studies also confirm the benefits. For example, subjects taught to breathe slowly and deeply as a mind-body practice show beneficial changes in the autonomic nervous system favoring parasympathetic relaxation, document changes increases in skin temperature from better artery flow, and reveal reductions in blood pressure compared to control subjects.