Before we dig into box breathing techniques and breathing in general, ask yourself – when was the last time you took a deep breath? No matter what the answer is, I hope this question makes you think AND then take a deep breath. There’s a reason you were looking for breathing techniques, right?
Conscious Breathing: What is it and what are the benefits?
Breathing happens without a thought, but taking a moment to breathe deeply can have incredible overall health benefits. We will break down box breathing in just a bit, but before we do, it’s important to understand how box breathing and any other type of breathing technique shits your mind to become focused on your breath in a way you may have not done in the past.
Conscious breathing is focusing on how you can physically alter your breath and recognize the way it flows in and out. Box breathing is a conscious breathing technique.
Here are some of the top ways conscious breathing and box breathing can help when it becomes a daily promise and staple in your routine:
- Decrease Stress: Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows heart and breathing rate and helps our body enter a state of relaxation.
- Helps Manage Pain: Focused breathing helps shift the mind away from pain or discomfort, and is a powerful tool for pain management.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: As your muscles relax and the oxygen/CO2 ratio balances, this allows your blood vessels to dilate, which improves circulation and lowers blood pressure.
- Increases energy: The increase of oxygen in the bloodstream delivers more oxygen to the brain, increasing focus and mental clarity.
Box Breathing Technique: How to Box Breath
Within seconds, deep, intentional conscious breathing has the ability to bring awareness to the sensation of your breath as well as offer an immediate physiological impact on the body by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings the body into a calmer state. And this brings you back to the present—what’s happening right now.
Simply put, conscious and deep breathing is one of the fastest ways to calm the body, relieve stress, and immediately improve your mental well-being within seconds.
Box Breathing is my go-to for instant stress relief.
Box Breathing, also known as square breathing, promotes instant relaxation while heightening mental performance and concentration. In fact, Box Breathing is so effective that U.S. Navy SEALs, police officers, first responders, and nurses all use the Box Breathing technique to help them remain calm and operate with precision in the most stressful situations.
Box Breathing is easy, and here’s the how-to-do it:
- Inhale for four seconds through your nose.
- Hold that breath—with your lungs full—for four seconds.
- Exhale for four seconds through your mouth.
- Hold—with your lungs empty—for four seconds.
- Repeat as many times as needed to feel better and less stressed.
To get the most out of your Box Breathing, try placing one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. The key is to feel your stomach rise more than your chest when inhaling. This is true diaphragmatic breathing, and it will provide the greatest relaxation of your nervous system!
Box Breathing is so simple, and you can do it anywhere!
- Lying in bed
- Sitting at your desk
- Driving your car or riding on the train
- Watching TV on the couch
It’s so easy to get caught up in whatever stresses we’re dealing with, but we’ve got these two tools—mindfulness and breathing—that take just a few minutes, cost us nothing, and can offer us almost instant relief from the stress-induced suffering we’re experiencing.
When I’m feeling any type of stress, I’ve learned (and it did take a lot of practice!) to immediately sit back and employ some mindfulness and breathing exercises. And this simple practice, alone, has been life-changing for me!
Now it’s your turn. Give this breathing technique a try this week and notice what happens to your stress levels!