Live Whole Health Self-Care Blog #9 – Paced Breathing for Anxiety and Stress


Periods of incredible change often lead to busy minds, full of thoughts and difficult-to-answer questions. In turn, these thoughts and questions can lead to anxiety and stress. Paced breathing can guide us back to a more balanced state.

We’ve been asked to change everything, from the way we work and care for our families to the way we travel and socialize. How we respond impacts our physical and mental being. When our minds become anxious and stressed, we may see our sleep disrupted, our mood impacted, our relationships strained, and even note our pain to worsen.

While those stressors are real, how we choose to react to them is often in our control.

Take a moment to listen to Dr. Gaudet’s guided meditation which uses the 4-7-8 breathing technique to bring the body, mind and spirit back to a more balanced state. This technique focuses on controlling your breathing, allowing your exhale to be longer than your inhale. It can create a sense of relaxation in the mind.

More information

If you feel you need more support for feelings of anxiety, stress or pain, please reach out to your healthcare providers. VHA providers stand ready to support you during your time of need.

If you are a Veteran and desire spiritual encouragement, guidance, or prayer, please contact your local VAMC Chaplain Service Office.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.

Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential crisis intervention and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. More information is available at

Kavitha Reddy, MD FACEP ABoIM, is a national whole health champion with the VHA Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation and Whole Health System Clinical Director for VASTLHCS.


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  1. Anonymous    

    Check out Melanie Weinberger’s 7-2-5 breathing technique for easing what she calls beta brain. It’s really effective in stopping ruminations and decreasing anxiety. As a vet with PTSD, i know how frustrating ruminations and axiety can be. Basically break up the in breath 2 and 5 s for 7 seconds total as this stops beta brain waves ( ruminations). Next, a continuous 7 s exhale to start the calming alpha brainwaves. Repeat for 1 minute or use with meditation to settle down. Good luck!

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