We take it for granted when we breathe. In, out, in, out. Easy isn’t it? Breathing can be compromised if you are suffering with a respiratory problem like asthma or a bronchial illness. Other than this there is another reason you can have a big problem with breathing and that is when you hyperventilate in the case of a panic attack. On a lower level, even mild anxiety and stress can make you breathe too quickly and your heart rate quicken.
Any high emotional arousal such as anger or fear will do the same. If you want to quicken your breathing and heart rate by exercise or doing something to give you an adrenaline rush then that’s great. On the other hand, when you are faced with an unexpected or unpleasant situation it is wise to know what to do to keep calm, working in tune with your parasympathetic nervous system. By calming yourself down you will give your brain time to see the bigger picture and make objective decisions in a logical and reasonable way.
7-11 breathing was given its name after the convenience store of the nineties which sadly is another loss to the high street. The aim of 7-11 breathing is to breathe in for the count of 7, slowly and evenly, then breathe out for the count of 11. If you find this a bit much you can get the same effect by breathing in for 4 and out for 8 just so long as your out breath is longer than your in breath. While you are breathing like this place your hands on your stomach as this is where you should feel the breath, not from your chest with your shoulders moving up and down.
In a stressful situation the best thing to do is to move away from the area straight away and find a quiet spot to calm down and practice breathing slowly. You only need to do this for a few minutes and this valuable break can make all the difference. I have had clients who although were coming with all sorts of stress and anxiety related concerns, once they’d learned 7-11 breathing they didn’t need to see me anymore. This effective technique was all they needed. Perhaps you can make this a part of your daily routine or you can use it at any time when you just want to relax and take a moment.