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The 4-7-8 breathing technique. This is a well-known technique that elite level athletes use to calm down and focus quickly. To effectively use this tool, breathe in using your diaphragm, and on the inhale, count slowly to 4. One you reach 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds. Slowly empty your lungs for a count of 8. Repeat 3-4 times before a high-pressure game or for an important meeting.

[toggle title=”” open=”no”] References:

  • Chandla S. S., Sood S., Dogra R., Das S., Shukla S. K., Gupta S. (2013). Effect of short-term practice of pranayamic breathing exercises on cognition, anxiety, general wellbeing and heart rate variability. J. Indian Med. Assoc. 111 662–665.
  • Ma, X., Yue, Z. Q., Gong, Z. Q., Zhang, H., Duan, N. Y., Shi, Y. T., … Li, Y. F. (2017). The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy AdultsFrontiers in psychology8, 874
  • P. S. Lee, “Theoretical Bases and Technical Application of Breathing Therapy in Stress Management,” Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 1304-1313, 1999.
  • Volker Busch, Walter Magerl, Uwe Kern, Joachim Haas, Göran Hajak, Peter Eichhammer, The Effect of Deep and Slow Breathing on Pain Perception, Autonomic Activity, and Mood Processing—An Experimental Study, Pain Medicine, Volume 13, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 215–228
  • Effects of controlled breathing, mental activity and mental stress with or without verbalization on heart rate variability,