Breathing is an automatic process we often take for granted. Controlled breathing techniques can significantly impact our physical and mental wellbeing.

Among these techniques, the 7-11 breathing method stands out for its simplicity and effectiveness in promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

What is the 7-11 breathing technique?

The 7-11 breathing technique involves a deliberate pattern of inhaling for 7 seconds and exhaling for 11 seconds. This method is designed to engage the body’s natural relaxation response, making it an excellent tool for managing stress, anxiety and tension.

Step-by-step guide to 7-11 breathing

Find your comfort zone

Position: Sit or lie down comfortably. Ensure your spine is straight to allow for full lung expansion.

Environment: Choose a quiet, calming space free from distractions.

Inhale for 7 seconds

Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.

Focus on expanding your abdomen and chest, allowing your lungs to fill.

Exhale for 11 seconds

Release the breath slowly through your mouth.

Make the exhale gentle and controlled, focusing on emptying your lungs.

Repeat the cycle

Continue this pattern for 5 to 10 minutes or longer if desired.

Maintain a steady rhythm, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale.

Stay mindful

Keep your attention on your breath.

If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the counting and the sensation of breathing.

The science behind 7-11 breathing – Activating the relaxation response

The extended exhale in the 7-11 technique stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is responsible for the body’s rest-and-digest functions. This activation helps counteract the fight-or-flight response triggered by stress, leading to a state of calm and relaxation.

Balancing oxygen and carbon dioxide levels

The controlled breathing pattern helps maintain an optimal balance between oxygen intake and carbon dioxide expulsion. This balance is crucial for maintaining homeostasis and preventing symptoms associated with hyperventilation, such as dizziness and tingling.

Benefits of the 7-11 breathing technique

Reduces stress and anxiety

By engaging the PNS, 7-11 breathing helps lower cortisol levels, reducing the overall feeling of stress and anxiety.

Enhances mental clarity and focus

The technique promotes mindfulness, helping to clear mental clutter and improve concentration.

Improves emotional regulation

Regular practice can enhance emotional resilience, making it easier to manage and respond to challenging situations calmly.

Promotes physical relaxation

The method aids in releasing muscle tension and lowering blood pressure, contributing to overall physical relaxation.

Supports better sleep

Trouble getting to sleep at night? Practising 7-11 breathing before bedtime can help calm the mind and prepare the body for restful sleep.

Practical tips for mastery

Start small

Begin with shorter sessions, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable with the technique.

Integrate into daily routine

Incorporate 7-11 breathing into your daily schedule, such as during breaks at work, before meals, or as part of your morning or evening routine.

Use as a quick calm tool

Practice the technique whenever you feel stressed or anxious, even for a few cycles, to quickly restore a sense of calm.

Pair with other relaxation techniques

Combine 7-11 breathing with practices like meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualisation for enhanced relaxation effects.

Track your progress

Keep a journal to note how you feel before and after practising 7-11 breathing, helping you track its impact on your stress levels and overall wellbeing.


The 7-11 breathing technique is a powerful, accessible tool for enhancing your mental and physical health. By incorporating this simple practice into your daily life, you can harness the power of your breath to reduce stress, improve focus and promote a sense of calm and relaxation. The 7-11 technique offers a straightforward path to greater wellbeing and tranquillity. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly and embrace the calm that comes with mastering the art of 7-11 breathing.

For more health tips, insights and inspiration, don’t forget to explore our dedicated health and wellbeing section here.

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