4-7-8 Breathing Exercises For Chronic Pain

When you’re feeling really over-stimulated or your nervous system is hyper-aroused, 4-7-8 breathing is a good exercise to try.

Either sit up or lie down; it doesn’t matter as long as your back is straight. Gently place the tip of your tongue against the back of your upper front teeth, at the point where the teeth meet the gums. Relax the rest of your tongue. Then keep your tongue in this position and open your mouth, holding it open as you exhale. Listen to the “whooshing” sound your breath makes as it passes by your tongue and leaves your mouth.

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Close your mouth and inhale through your nose, quietly, to the count of 4.

Stop inhaling and hold your breath to the count of 7.

Now breathe out through your mouth as described, with the tip of your tongue against your back teeth, emptying your lungs to the count of 8.

Count silently and be aware of your breath moving in and out of your nose, throat, and lungs. Just a few rounds should be all it takes to achieve a sense of calm. Then, over the course of a month or two, you can gradually build up to a maximum of eight rounds at a sitting.

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