7 Ways to Calm Down Blog Series, Part Four
Box breathing, which I wrote about last week, is a great way to slow and deepen your breath throughout your day. 7/11 breathing is a similar but much deeper breathing exercise that’s particularly great for falling asleep. It should only be done while sitting or lying down, otherwise you might fall (it’s that relaxing.)
Good sleep is important for mood, energy and mental focus, so using 7/11 breathing to help you fall asleep can set you up for a better day. It’s also useful during the day when you’re feeling upset, anxious, or stressed and want to calm down.
1. Sit or lie down somewhere you’re comfortable and well supported.
2. Inhale slowly and steadily to the count of 7.
3. Exhale slowly and steadily to the count of 11.
4. Continue to inhale to 7 and exhale to 11 five to ten times, until you feel relaxed. If you can’t get to the count of 7 or 11, you can modify the times. Just keep the exhale slightly longer than the inhale.
Since your exhale is longer than your inhale, 7/11 breathing helps you exhale stale air you’ve been carrying around in your lungs, replacing it with fresh air and increasing your oxygen. The very slow pace of breathing causes the mind to slow down, as your thoughts can’t race when your breath is slow and measured.
Slowing and deepening the breath helps to relax the body, but sometimes the tension we’re carrying in our bodies also needs some specific attention. Next week’s blog will focus on a technique for reducing muscle tension and relaxing the whole body.