The 4-4-8 breathing technique is a basic breathing technique which is designed to help you relax and focus. This technique is great if you feel stressed or tense. Using this technique will help you get rid of the tension so you can focus on what you need to do. No matter what your goal is, controlling your breath will help you focus and clarify your thinking.

This breathing method will only be successful if you are totally at ease and relaxed.  If you are tense then it makes good sense to relax your body. One basic relaxation technique involves you laying flat on the floor or sitting comfortably on a chair with your feet firmly flat on the ground. Close your eyes and gradually tense and relax each part of the body working upwards from your feet to your head. Once you feel you are fully relaxed you need to switch your attention to your breath.

This breathing exercise will help you focus and clear your mind as well as lift your mood.

The Technique

Start by inhaling quietly through your nose for four counts of time.  Make sure you fill your lungs completely to the point where you feel your abdomen is filled full of air like a balloon.  Hold your breath for four counts. Then, through pursed lips, slowly exhale through your mouth making a whoosh sound for eight counts.

It will take a few attempts before you feel comfortable but you will soon find a rhythm that suits you as there is no wrong way of using this technique.  As you are inhaling visualize health and vitality entering your body, while holding the count of four imagine perfect health and energy filling each and every cell in your body. When you exhale imagine you are blowing away the pain, fatigue, tension and stress that you have in your body.

How it works

Basically, it is the longer exhale that will calm you down. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase on every breath in. Then, for every breath out the opposite happens and your blood pressure and heart rate go down. The result will leave you feeling more relaxed and less stressed. So by exhaling for twice as long as you inhale, you’re effectively hitting your off switch.

Whenever you feel stressed or low or want a boost of energy, simply carrying out 3 to 4 sets in a row will to help lift your mood.  Inspiratory muscle training is also a breathing technique that is great for healthy and happy lungs.