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  • Clare Reed CBT Therapist

My 'Go To' Relaxation Technique of Choice

My Number 1 Relaxation Technique
My Number 1 Relaxation Technique

My Number One 'Go To' Relaxation Technique

In over a decade as a therapist I have tried many many relaxation techniques, as part of my informed service to my clients as I find it beneficial to keep trying new things. But there is one technique which has lasted with me through all my trials and tests that I want to share with you today.

It is a very simple technique and really easy to use, plus it is very versatile, as you can use it anywhere.

It is called the 7:11 breathing technique.

The 7:11 Breathing Technique

Simply breath in through the nose for a count of 7 and then breathe out of your mouth for a count of 11. Repeat this for 1-2 minutes and you will feel the benefits, as you relax and unwind.

Technique Tips

  • Slow the breath out right down to get to a count of 11

  • Don’t hold the breath at any stage

  • A count doesn't necessarily mean a second, as everyone's lung capacity is different but it is a slow count.

Position for breathing

The beauty of this technique is you can do it anywhere, as long as you are not talking or moving about. You can do it at a desk, on a plane, bus, train, sitting, lying down or standing.

When you are tired try it before falling asleep as it has natural tranquilising effects

*Please don’t use this technique while driving or operating machinery

The Science Behind it

Interestingly the science behind it is worth understanding. Firstly, there is the count 7 and to 11. This is essential, as it is a distraction method and takes your mind off any thoughts, other than the counting.

Secondly, the long breath in, is beaten by the even longer breath out, so that firstly you take enough air in to fill up your lungs and feel your belly rise. But the longer breath out, to a count of 11, slows the release of air right down, essentially changing the oxygen/carbon dioxide ratio. When we slowly breathe out like this, we hold onto the carbon dioxide gas for longer than normal and this is the natural gas that relaxes us.

When we are very stressed or anxious we normally do the opposite and take shallow fast breaths so we don’t avail of the carbon dioxide for as long and we don’t relax. So this technique changes all of that and is a great antidote to stress and anxiety.

Also, with this technique we are engaging the diaphragm, which is the little muscle under the rib cage. When we use the diaphragm, during this type of breathing, it sends a message to the brain, via the nervous system, telling it the body is relaxing!

I will post more relaxation techniques in the future, let me know what you think of the 7:11.

About Me

I offer a great service in my CBT therapy to Cancer Patients both past and present and Carers. I was a Cancer Carer myself once, as well as being a Breast Cancer survivor and understand both sides of the story really well. I love to help people get through their treatment journeys and out the other side with their sanity and relationships intact.

I use Cognitive Behavioural techniques to provide you with great coping mechanisms, plus coaching in communication skills and actions to help you be the person you want to be. Contact me for more information through my website all my therapy sessions are conducted by Skype which makes my therapy accessible wherever you are in the world.

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