One of the building blocks in the foundation of health and wellness is rest and stress management. As a mom, in spite of the differences that make each of you unique, you likely have one thing in common and that is your crazy schedule. There are likely a million things fighting for your attention at any given time during the day and when it comes time for you to take a few minutes to relax or finally lay down to sleep, it might be nearly impossible for you to set aside every loud voice inside your head. There are a lot of different ways to force your body to relax. You need that time to stay physically, mentally and emotionally fit. One effective technique is as easy as breathing. It's called the 4-7-8 breathing trick and its growing popularity and proclaimed effectiveness makes it worth a shot.
Andrew Weil, M.D. advocates integrative medicine to achieve a healthy body and mind. A graduate of Harvard University, Dr. Weil has devoted over 40 years to educating others about emotional, psychological and physical health as they are all linked together. He promotes the use of conventional and alternative medicine and says that the answer is not isolating one as a solution towards happiness.
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So how does the trick work? The 4-7-8 breathing technique forces your heart rate to slow as you focus solely on breathing and counting. You gradually lower your adrenaline and clear your mind until you don't even realize you've drifted off to dreamland and the next moment your alarm clock is buzzing. So here are the steps: inhale for four counts, hold it for seven counts and then exhale for eight counts. Pretty simple, right? The hard part is really sticking to the counts and not letting yourself speed up. Especially when you're anxious or upset, you might be breathing short, choppy breaths. When you lengthen your inhale to four seconds, you're forcing more oxygen into your body. Holding it for seven seconds allows it to permeate your blood stream and then you emit the carbon dioxide breathing out for eight seconds. (via Byrdie) Check out Dr. Weil's video telling you about the trick and how you can do it.
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If you're laying in bed running through all the things you have to do and you just can't push it all aside, use this method to control your breathing and fall asleep. If you're using it to de-stress during the day, find a comfortable position where you can relax all the muscles in your body and let go of the tension. Dr. Weil encourages practicing the method so that you can call upon it at least twice throughout the day, even when you just need to take a timeout from that silly little argument about who didn't take out the trash. You're going to practice it right now. Ready, go.
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