4-7-8 Breathing – A Mindfulness Tool to Calm Down
“Pause, breathe. Repair the universe, then proceed.” – AUTHOR UNKNOWN
For many years in my journey as a mother, I didn’t make room for a regular meditation practice, exercise, or any routine that would help me be more regulated and heal my triggers.
I wasn’t ready to establish them, to make my needs a priority and free the time. To take it away somewhere else. However, not taking care of myself lead to situations when I was not the person I wanted to be. I got quickly overwhelmed, angry, triggered in situations with my child, and reacted in ways I didn’t want to. Simply reacting wasn’t an option, too.
When I’m triggered, I slip down into my fight & flight brain, the parts of the brain responsible for survival, and behaviors appear I am terrified of. I react in ways I hated when I was a child and promised I wouldn’t ever do to my child. But it is there, unhealed wounds in my body, and they are a part of me.
That’s why I am always keen on tools to calm down when feeling a trigger coming up. Something that brings me back from survival mode to my logical brain. Something I can do next to my child when he is angry, something short and practical.
I tried several things like singing, dancing, music, drinking water, eating an apple, and having a grounding necklace but nothing worked really well.
A while ago, I made an eCourse with Drs. Daniel Siegel and Lisa Firestone and they recommended the 4-7-8 Breathing technique, and it is quite helpful for me to ground myself in a moment of struggle.
WHAT IS 4-7-8 BREATHING?
It is a simple mindfulness practice that can help you calm down and regulate your emotions.
It releases Serotonin, a component in the brain, which helps to calm down a bit, and works when you feel the frustration coming up, feeling anxious, or just needing to regulate yourself when something puts the finger on your triggers.
How does it work?
Breath in for a count of FOUR.
Hold your breath for the count of SEVEN.
Breath out for the count of EIGHT.
Repeat for FIVE times
The relaxation happens because you release more air than you breathe in. That’s what’s releases serotonin and calms down your brain. It gets more efficient when you make it a daily practice twice a day. Happy breathing!