Over the last couple of years you may have seen an increase in health practitioners and indeed the media prescribing breathing techniques to help us lower stress and generally live healthier lives.
Techniques such as ‘7 – 11 breathing’ are not magic or even particularly new ideas! They can however be a very powerful tool in dealing with stress and even in times of panic (see also the 5,4,3,2,1 technique). It’s a tool that I regularly use myself and suggest to clients.
Practised for 5 – 10 minutes a day 7 – 11 breathing helps us to increase our ‘vagal tone‘. It does this by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system – this area is known to help play a part in the ‘rest or digest’ response. As we breath in our heart rate increases slightly and as we breath out our heart rate and blood pressure lower. This helps to lower our emotional arousal basically telling the body that we can relax – There are no threats to worry about. When we increase vagal tone it allows us to regulate our emotions better and we see that even in difficult times we are able to negotiate difficulties rather than ‘fight, flight or freeze’.
Make sure you’re taking nice deep breaths and if you can’t quite reach 7 and 11 you can shorten or extend the count to make yourself more comfortable. The important thing is that the out breath is slightly longer than than the in.
I’ve created a short video below that should give you a visual guide with some helpful binaural beats to help you focus and relax.
It sounds obvious but please don’t use this video whilst operating machinery, driving.
N.B If you’re worried about your health your first stop should always be your Doctor.
Ben Gaskell is a Clinical Hypnotherapist working with clients who suffer from anxiety, stress, low mood and phobias. Based at The Remedy Lounge, Central Manchester and the Stretford area of Greater Manchester he serves the local and surrounding areas of Urmston, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Hale, Altrincham and Trafford.
Further details can be found on ‘getting here’ or my ‘contact’ page. For more information on how Ben at Greater Manchester Hypnotherapy can help you please call 07756 932 702 or email [email protected].