The 4 to 8 Relaxation Technique

Guest Contributor: Nayda Harrison

It is nine o clock and the alarm says it is time to start the test. One you studied really hard for. Looking around everyone seems to be writing as fast as they can, but all of a sudden something happens. It is hard to breathe, your palms feel sweaty, and you feel tense and a bit nervous. You start asking yourself “what if I can't remember everything I studied? What if I don't know all the answers?” At this point, even though you are feeling the stress, you know you really need to focus on the exam.

These feelings probably mean your brain is functioning on beta waves and in fight or flight response. It’s very beneficial for surviving purposes, however not the ideal waves when it comes to staying focused and remembering all you need to know about a particular subject. This type of stress is the perfect opportunity to implement the 4 to 8 technique.

The benefits of 4 to 8 are just too many to ignore. First, it helps bring oxygen into your brain which can help you stay focused on a particular task. It can release muscular tension, as well as benefit you by helping you focus on the present moment and help stop overthinking.

Let's learn how to put in practice this 4 to 8 technique.

  • Inhale in for 4 seconds and exhale out for 4 seconds.

  • Inhale in for 5 seconds and exhale out for 5 seconds.

  • Inhale in for 6 seconds and exhale out for 6 seconds.

  • Inhale in for 7 seconds and exhale out for 7 seconds.

  • Inhale in for 8 seconds and exhale out for 8 seconds.

The brain will start getting oxygen and change from beta waves to delta waves, helping your brain to stop segregating cortisol and adrenaline. By using deep breathing, instead of shallow breathing, this technique brings an immediate sensation of relaxation.

This technique brings higher benefits if used on a daily basis. Most people believe that habits are formed by completing a task for a minimum of 21 days it a row. Why not make it a daily habit and see if you benefit from this technique.

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