Performing Arts Life: 4-7-8 Breath for Stress Relief

Performing Arts Life: 4-7-8 Breath for Stress Relief - Melinda Massie Performing Arts Marketing Blog

Today I'm sharing a breathing exercise I learned in yoga many years ago that oh-so-quickly helps relieve stress.

I've taught this during acting and audition coachings to help alleviate stress before an audition. Companies I’ve worked with have used it after particularly intense performances to help us de-role.

I once even taught it on the fly to the super-nervous speaker who was going on after me at a conference. When she was on the stage, you’d have had no idea that just one hour prior she was almost hyperventilating from stage fright.

Do this anytime you’re freaking out and need to chill and get centered.

The 4-7-8 breath. 

How to do it: 

  • Place the tip of your tongue lightly on the area of your mouth where the roof of your mouth meets your front teeth. 

  • Inhale for 4 counts. 

  • Hold your breath for 7 counts. 

  • Exhale for 8 counts, working to empty the lungs completely. If you're in a place where you feel comfortable to do so, make a "shh" sound while you do it. (Though it’s not necessary to do so.)

  • Inhale immediately after for 4 counts.

  • Repeat the pattern for 4 cycles.  

Here's a video if you need a visual:


Note: He counts much faster than I do. Count at a pace that is comfortable for you throughout the entire exercise. He also says to do it twice a day. I personally don't do that and instead use it on an "as needed" basis, but whatever works best for your needs will be awesome.  


If you find yourself in a stressful situation, use the 4-7-8 breath to relax and calm yourself.

Do you have any quick tricks that help you quell audition, performance, or the creativity nerves? (Or even stress in general!) Share with us in the comments below!

Melinda Massie

About the Author

Hey there! I’m Melinda. Nice to meet you! I’m a marketing coach, writer, and performer. I teach those in the performing arts how to market themselves.

Enjoy coffee and cursing. Love indulgent foods, whiskey, & champagne.

And not necessarily in that order.