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Breathwork for Bad Days

Use this simple breathing technique to lift your mood

Damon Orion

There’s a good reason people tell you to “take a deep breath” when things are going wrong. Alterations in breathing can have a profound effect on how you’re feeling. With crappy days in such high supply lately, it couldn’t hurt to have a mood-lifting hack that you can keep in your back pocket. 

For this, breathworker Jesse Coomer prescribes a technique that he calls the Cadence of Bliss. “Most of the world knows it as 4-7-8 breathing,” he says. “It tends to help a person look at the bright side a little bit more. This is also great for a stressful day.”  

Here’s the breakdown: 

  • Take a nice, steady inhale for four seconds. Focus on expanding the ribs and having a tight, full thoracic area. “You're going to feel some pressure,” Coomer notes. 

  • With full lungs, hold your breath for seven seconds. “If you want to supercharge it, smile during those seven seconds,” Coomer suggests. “That's what I like to call the secret sauce.” 

  • Now exhale for eight seconds. Make sure the exhalation stays even the whole time, as opposed to letting out lots of air early on and then letting a little bit trail out for the rest of the eight seconds. 

  • According to Coomer, four to eight repetitions of this should be all you need to reset. “If you need more, wait one minute, and then you can do four to eight more. You can do this all day if you want to.” 

  • Coomer says this exercise is safe to do while driving. “If you're having a hard time going to sleep, you can even do this right before bed or at 3 in the morning when you're having a hard time getting back to sleep,” he offers. 

Damon Orion is a writer, musician, artist and teacher based in Santa Cruz, CA. Read more of his work at damonorion.com.

 

Read more: Can Breathwork Improve Your Mental Health?

Read more: What it’s Like to Take Cold Showers

Read more: Remember to Breathe

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