If you experience stress or anxiety, box breathing (also known as square breathing) is another great breathing technique that you may try. It is an effective technique that helps to improve relaxation, refocus awareness or concentration, improve mindfulness, increase feelings of control and may also be used as a calming bedtime routine.
Tips before trying Box Breathing:
- Find a quiet and comfortable environment.
- Find a comfortable seated position (back supported against chair, hands relaxed on your lap, feet flat on the ground) or lie on your back.
- Keep your body relaxed during the breathing exercise.
- Take deep diaphragmatic or “belly breaths”. Read my blog post How to: Diaphragmatic Breathing to learn more about this breathing technique.
- Take your time with each breath. Don’t rush.
- If you ever feel lightheaded, dizzy or uncomfortable, stop and try again at a different time.
- You can use a square or any object with four sides (e.g. picture frame, window, etc.) as a visual aid to help you focus on the breathing or you can close your eyes and imagine a square.
Instructions for Box Breathing (read through instructions before trying technique):
1.Take a slow and deep breath in your nose. On the square, follow the line from the bottom left corner to the top left corner while counting for 4 seconds as you breathe in. Think of pure and clear oxygen entering to fill your lungs.
2.Hold your breath and follow the line from the top left corner to the top right corner along the square while counting for 4 seconds.
3.Breathe out slowly through your mouth and follow the line down to the bottom right corner while counting for 4 seconds. As you breath the air out of your lungs, think of all of your stress and worries leaving your body with the air you breathe out.
4.Hold your breath and follow the line from the bottom right corner to the bottom left corner while counting for 4 seconds.
5. Repeat as needed.
Free PDF instructions: