Box breathing, is a technique used when taking slow, deep breaths. It can heighten performance and concentration while also being a powerful stress reliever.
This technique can be beneficial to anyone, especially those who want to meditate or reduce stress. Apparently it is the breath of choice for U.S. Navy SEALs.
Before you get started, make sure that you’re seated upright in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor. Try to be in a stress-free, quiet environment where you can focus on your breathing.
How to Do Box Breathing
Keeping your hands relaxed in your lap with your palms facing up, focus on your posture. You should be sitting up straight. This will help you take deep breaths.
Step 1: Slowly exhale
Sitting upright, slowly exhale through your mouth, getting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Focus on this intention and be conscious of what you’re doing.
Step 2: Slowly inhale
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four to eight seconds. In this step, count very slowly in your head.
Feel the air fill your lungs, starting at the bottom and slowly making your way up until your lungs are completely full and the air moves into your abdomen.
Step 3: Hold your breath
Hold your breath for another slow count of four to eight seconds.
Step 4: Exhale again
Exhale through your nose or your mouth for the same slow count, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen.
Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs.
Step 5: Hold your breath again
Hold your breath for the same slow count before repeating this process.
Benefits of box breathing
According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s sufficient evidence that intentional deep breathing can actually calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
This system regulates involuntary body functions such as temperature. It can lower blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm.
The slow holding of breath allows CO2 to build up in the blood. An increased blood CO2 enhances the cardio-inhibitory response of the vagus nerve when you exhale and stimulates your parasympathetic system. This produces a calm and relaxed feeling in the mind and body.
Box breathing can reduce stress and improve your mood. That makes it an exceptional treatment for conditions such as anxiety and depression.
It can also help treat insomnia by allowing you to calm your nervous system at night before bed. Box breathing can even be efficient at helping with pain management.