Box breathing (or which is also called square breathing) is a deep breathing exercise which helps you to relax as you mindfully focus on counting your breaths. Unlike other types of breathing exercises which don’t use breath counting, or have uneven intervals between each step, box breathing is unique as it has four equal steps, similar to the four sides of a square. If you visualise yourself drawing one line with every single step of the exercise, you’ll end up with a square by the time that you finish, hence the name.
The box breathing exercise can be employed at any time of the day. It may be helpful for people to monitor when their anxiety or stress is at its highest point and to practise it then. The box breathing technique is thought to come from Ayurvedic practices, which is a natural and holistic system of medicine that began in India thousands of years ago.
What Is Deep Breathing?
Deep breathing is the deliberate act of taking slow, deep breaths. Inhaling air through the nose and then breathing out through the mouth. When we breathe in, our blood cells pick up oxygen. As oxygen moves throughout our bodies, carbon dioxide is created, transferred back to the lungs as well as released when we exhale.
During moments of anxiety, we have the tendency to breathe from our chest and take fast, shallow breaths. This results in distress in how our bodies process oxygen and carbon dioxide, which can also lead to various symptoms of anxiety. This includes increases in:
- Heart rate,
- Breathing rate, and
- Blood pressure.
Our body’s parasympathetic system, however, prevents this reaction and then returns the body to a relaxed state. Deep breathing may trigger this response and assist you to calm yourself during stressful situations.
When your body happens to be anxious or stressed, your heart rate and breathing rate alter. Your blood pressure grows and your muscles tense, so preparing for the flight, fight, or freeze reaction.
Deep breathing is one of the utter best ways to help you to calm down and relax. It can help:
- Lower your blood pressure as well as heart rate,
- Lower levels of stress,
- Reduce lactic acid build-up, which causes muscle tension,
- Improve your immune system, and
- Increase your feelings of well-being and calm.
How To Do The Box Breathing Methodology
Keeping true to box breathing’s rule of fours, the methodology has four steps:
- Slowly inhale for a period of four seconds.
- Hold in your breath for four seconds.
- Slowly exhale for a period four seconds.
- Hold your breath for four seconds.
The length of each step may be increased or lowered based on your comfort, however it generally ranges for between three and six seconds. You can repeat the whole exercise for about one to five minutes.
It’s absolutely completely up to you if you want to keep your eyes open or not, whichever assists you to better visualise drawing a square. You may do the breathing exercise while you’re sitting up or lying down. There is no generally prescribed plan for how frequently or how regularly you should employ box breathing. It’s useful to perform the exercise every time you feel stressed or anxious, however you could also do it at exactly the same time every single day in order to form a consistent routine and have long-term health benefits.
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