7/11 Breathing Technique
Q: What Is The 7/11 Technique And What Is It Used For?
A: The 7/11 technique is a breathing exercise where you breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count 11. It is used to help you relax and gain/regain composure in a variety of situations.
Q: What Can I Use It For?
A: It can be used to calm Panic/Anxiety attacks, Hyperventilation, to relax you at the end of a stressful day, to get you ready for a busy day, to manage anger outbursts, to aid concentration before an exam/interview etc and almost any state which leads to high emotional arousal.
Q: How Does It Work?
A: It works in several ways:
It works on the bodies’ autonomic nervous system. When we breathe in, receptors are stimulated to quicken our heartbeat, increase breathing rate and increase adrenalin production and when we breathe out receptors are stimulated to slow our heartbeat, reduce our breathing rate and decrease adrenaline production (in layman’s terms when we breathe in we get excited and when we breathe out we relax). Because it needs a degree of concentration to work it helps us take our minds off what was worrying us in the first place. Also because it relaxes us it gives access to the rational thinking part of the brain which gets shut down in stressful situations, allowing us to think our way around problems etc.
Q: Is It Difficult To Learn?
A: NO! Anyone who can breathe and count to 11 can learn it. Here’s how... ...
1. Find somewhere comfortable to sit and relax.
2. It helps, when you are first practicing, to sit in front of a mirror so that you can see your progress. (After you're used to using the technique you can also do this standing or in a moment at work)
3. Sit in a chair with your shoulders relaxed and your hands folded gently over your tummy.
4. If possible breathe in and out through your nose. In for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11 (if you find it too hard to breathe out 11, start off with 3/6 and work up to 7/11. The important thing here is to breathe out longer than you breathe in).
5. If you are doing it correctly your shoulders will remain still and your tummy will get bigger and smaller as you breathe (called belly or diaphragmatic breathing). If you sit in front of a mirror you can keep an eye on your shoulders and tummy.
6. Try to hold in between the in and out breaths for a count of two seconds. This will aid a sense of control and also support with focusing your thinking.
7. Once you can keep your shoulders still and relaxed without effort it is a good idea to close your eyes and try to picture the numbers in your minds eye to help you concentrate completely on your breathing.