Mastering Stress: The Power of the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple yet effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. It was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned integrative medicine expert, and is based on an ancient yogic breathing practice called pranayama.

The technique involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. 

Here's how to do it:

  1. Find a comfortable seated or lying position. You can do this technique anywhere, anytime, but it’s best to start in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth. Keep your tongue in this position throughout the exercise.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds. Fill your lungs completely with air.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds.
  5. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 8 seconds. Make a whooshing sound as you exhale, like you’re blowing out candles on a birthday cake.
  6. Repeat the cycle three more times, for a total of four cycles.

Here are some benefits of the 4-7-8 breathing technique:

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety: The deep breathing and long exhale help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s relaxation response. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels.

  2. Improves sleep: The technique can also help to improve the quality of your sleep. By slowing down your breathing and focusing on your breath, you can quiet your mind and prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep.

  3. Increases focus and concentration: Practicing the 4-7-8 breathing technique can also help to improve focus and concentration. By slowing down your breathing and focusing on the counting, you can bring your mind into the present moment and improve your ability to concentrate.

  4. Lowers blood pressure: The technique can also help to lower blood pressure by increasing the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream and slowing down your heart rate.

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The 4-7-8 breathing technique can offer several benefits for someone with a chronic lung disease, such as:

  1. Improved breathing control: The technique encourages slow, controlled breathing, which can help improve lung function and make breathing easier for those with chronic lung disease.

  2. Reduced shortness of breath: By slowing down and controlling their breathing, individuals with chronic lung disease may experience reduced feelings of shortness of breath.

  3. Reduced anxiety and stress: Chronic lung disease can cause feelings of anxiety and stress. The 4-7-8 breathing technique can help to reduce these feelings, which can further help to ease breathing difficulties.

  4. Improved relaxation and sleep: Practicing the 4-7-8 breathing technique before bed can help individuals with chronic lung disease achieve a more relaxed and restful sleep, which can further improve their overall health.

  5. Better management of symptoms: By incorporating the 4-7-8 breathing technique into their daily routine, individuals with chronic lung disease can learn to better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


It’s important to note that individuals with chronic lung disease should consult their healthcare provider before starting any new breathing techniques, as some techniques may not be suitable for all individuals or may require adaptations.

Sign up for the iMaster Health Online Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program to learn more breathing techniques tailored to your chronic respiratory condition.

Interested in supervised exercise training? Join the iMaster Health 8-week Lung Workshop! Book a free consultation to get started!

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Pulmonary rehabilitation helps ease respiratory symptoms, improve physical and psychological well-being, and increase disease management. Please discuss your decision to begin online pulmonary rehabilitation with a doctor or health care provider.

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