1-4-2 Breath Control

As can be seen in recent videos of ways of controlling anxiety, panic attacks and getting to sleep, breathing in and out of a paper or plastic bag is suggested. This is because we breathe out carbon dioxide and so taking in what we breathe out we build up our intake of it. As carbon dioxide decreases anxiety, panic and enables relaxation it is very useful to be able to do this.

But a much better way of doing this with much deeper results is the held breath. You must realise that you are gradually changing very deeply seated habits that have been with you a lifetime. Taking hold of the breath and controlling it is like taking hold of your nervous system, or body, and gradually altering the way it responds to events and thoughts. It is a bit like taking a wild animal and gently taming it.

The method is called 1-4-2 because you start with an in-breath that you count. So if you started with an in-breath that took a count of 5 you then hold your breath for a count of 20 – that is four times the length of the in-breath. You then breathe out slowly for a count of 10 – which is half the count of the held breath. Therefore a 1-4-2 count. So if your in breath took a count of 10, four times that is 40, and half of that is 20.

To really get the results from this you must start at a low count until you are used to it, and there should be no struggle to hold your breath, only lengthening the count as you find it easy. Start with 10 minutes of the technique and work up to 20 minutes. It will really work if you do this for twenty minutes day. You will need to keep it up for three months then you will notice real change, you can then stop it and only use it if you feel the need.

This is so far the best way of dealing with stress I have used. In meeting people in the media who face a lot of stress they have told me this is a lifesaver for them. I have noticed that it also lowers blood pressure, and it tames the wild animal in us.”

See Slowing the Breath

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved