4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
Another relaxation exercise you can try is the 4-7-8 breathing method, developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. This technique helps to give your body a boost of oxygen as you breathe deeply, which helps to reduce anxiety and stress to support positive mental wellbeing. Weill (n.d.) has labelled this exercise as a 'natural tranquiliser for the nervous system', which, put simply, means an exercise to reduce nerves, worrisome thoughts, and to slow down our breathing.
You might be wondering just how you breathe using the 4-7-8 method, so here is a quick guide!
The 4-7-8 method
To begin, place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Keep it in this position for the duration of the exercise, and if you notice it dropping, return it to this position.
Once your tongue is in position, one round of 4-7-8 breathing will involve parting your lips slightly and exhaling using a whooshing sound through your mouth.
This should be followed by closing your lips and inhaling silently through your nose whilst counting to four in your head.
Then, you should aim to hold your breath for seven seconds and follow this by exhaling using a whooshing sound for eight seconds.
It is recommended that you try four rounds of this exercise to feel relaxed, however, relaxation is personal and unique to each of us, so you may find you need more or fewer rounds to feel content.