The #1 Best Breathing Technique for Reducing Anxiety

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If you are feeling stressed or anxious and are looking for a way to feel a lot calmer, then this breathing technique will reduce your anxiety instantly.

But before I give you this powerful breathing technique, you also have to know this confronting fact:

If you are going to use this breathing technique in the wrong way… you can make your anxiety a lot worse.

There are a few things you must never do when you use breathing exercises, things I never knew myself, so I first want to share those, before I hand you the secret weapon.

Watch the Full Video Here!

How Not Use Breathing Techniques

Last year when I presented my Masterclass on Anxiety live for the first time, I was so scared to death and felt so anxious that I imagined myself throwing up.

A secret: only 6 people showed up and one of them was my sister, but I was so scared of being seen as a failure to even such a small group, that it triggered massive anxiety.

Being scared to vomit liver was such a scary thought that I became even more anxious, so I tried the following to calm me down:

I tried to fight my anxious feelings by telling them it doesn’t make sense, I tried to force myself to calmness and used breathing to calm my anxiety. I used a breathing technique, but as a matter of fact: nothing worked and my anxiety only got worse.

Why? Why was that the case?

Okay, this is the most important thing you’ll ever learn about using breathing techniques to calm anxiety and panic. So let’s take a look!

How to Use Breathing Correctly

When you want to use breathing techniques to calm your anxiety… understand the following 2 intentions:

1. Using breathing techniques in order to force your anxiety away, in the hope you become calm and not feel anxious anymore.

2. Or using breathing techniques while saying it’s OK to feel anxious right now, I allow my anxiety to be present with me, but I use my breathing to show my brain I am safe and therefore make the situation a bit more pleasant. 

95% of the people, like me, when I was doing the training, use breathing to forcefully calm ourselves down in the hope the anxiety goes away, but all this does is show your brain that anxiety must not be felt and is something to be anxious about when it arises.

So when I switched to the opposite, I noticed that the breathing technique worked way better.

So by telling yourself feeling anxious is OK, you allow yourself to feel it as if that’s perfectly safe, and then use the following breathing technique to show your mind you are safe… you can reduce anxiety the right way. 

I am going to give you this powerful breathing exercise right now: it’s the 4-7-8 method. And it is all about deep breathing, which is the opposite of what you do when you feel stressed: which is shallow breathing.

You can practice it in a stressful situation, before a stressful situation or if you need more help trying to fall asleep.

The 4-7-8 Method

Sit up straight in a chair or lay down. Wherever you are, you can practice this technique to calm yourself down.

  1. Tell yourself that you allow your anxiety to be present and tell your mind that you use this technique to show it that you are perfectly safe and that there is no need to be anxious.
  2. Place your tongue against the back of your top teeth and keep it there.
  3. Exhale completely through your nose.
  4. Put your hands on your lap or place them on your heart.
  5. Now we start using the 4-7-8 method. 
  6. Close your lips and inhale through your nose for a count of four.
  7. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  8. Exhale completely through your mouth making a woosh sound for a count of 8.
  9. This completes one cycle. Let’s do two more together.
  10. Repeat this for 5 cycles in total.


You now discovered one of the most powerful breathing techniques that you can use to show your anxious brain that there is no need to be anxious. 

You learned that breathing techniques should not be used in the hope you no longer feel anxious, but with the allowance of the feeling and as a way to show your mind you are safe by breathing in the opposite way you would do if you were anxious. 

But just using this breathing won’t heal you from anxiety, and therefore you need to read THIS article, where I teach you how to finally break free from anxiety.

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Author: Wouter Manders

Wouter is a mindset coach from The Netherlands. For many years he suffered from depression and anxiety. It gave him the motivation to coach people on overcoming their anxiety, out of first hand experience. With more than 6000 blog visitors a month he helps many people on their road to having less anxiety.

About Wouter

Wouter is a mindset coach from The Netherlands. For many years he suffered from depression and anxiety. It gave him the motivation to coach people on freeing themselves from anxiety. With more than 6000 blog visitors a month he helps many people on their journey towards less anxiety.

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