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7 - 11 Breathing

(Or simply making sure your out-breath lasts longer than your in-breath)

You may have noticed if you practised Relaxed Belly Breathing that the out-breath became longer than the in-breath as you became more relaxed. This is the opposite of tense breathing. When we are anxious, we breathe 1 – 1. The time it takes us to breathe in is equal to the time it takes us to breathe out.

Practising lengthening the out-breath is a very effective anxiety management technique, because the mind finds it difficult to be anxious when the body acts as if it were relaxed by copying a relaxed breathing style.

This technique is called 7 – 11 Breathing.

Counting up to 7 on an in-breath and then counting to 11 on an out-breath (making sure it is longer than the in-breath).

Or

If that is too long, you could try:

Breathing in for 1 and breathing out for 1,2,3

or

Breathing in for 1,2,3 and breathing out for 1,2,3,4,5

or

Breathing in for 1,2,3,4,5 and breathing out for 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

 

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