26 Dec Beat stress (and even insomnia) and improve your health with this 60-second breathing technique
via Inc.com by Minda Zetlin
You know that getting a good night’s sleep is vitally important for your mental and physical health, mood, and even your brain function. But what if you just can’t fall asleep? We all have trouble sleeping at times in our lives, and for some people, it’s a constant battle.
But there’s a simple and amazingly powerful tool that will not only help you sleep, it will steady you in times of stress, help you cope with cravings and other bad impulses, and help you avoid reacting badly when things upset you. Over time, it can help with digestion, lower your heart rate, and lower your blood pressure. And it only takes about a minute to do.
The exercise is called 4-7-8 breath, and it’s a form of the ancient yoga practice of breath control (pranayama). It was popularized in this country by Andrew Weil, M.D., who says it’s more effective for controlling anxiety than anti-anxiety medications.
Here’s how to do 4-7-8 breathing:
1. Begin by exhaling all the air in your lungs.
2. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, right where the ridge of flesh meets your two upper front teeth. Keep your tongue there through the entire exercise, even when you’re exhaling.
3. Breathe in for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Breathe out with a whooshing sound for a count of 8.
4. Repeat the entire cycle four times…
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