Box Breathing Technique: Benefits and How To Practice?

Last Update on August 1, 2023 : Published on February 25, 2021
Box Breathing Technique

There are times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed either due to excitement or nervousness. And when that happens, we often feel our breaths coming faster and shallower. Now, hearing someone tell you to “Just breathe” can be easier said than done, right?

Well, believe it or not, using deep breathing techniques when you’re overwhelmed can work wonders for your mind and heart.

Breathing, after all, is a natural process but it is also a conscious and an unconscious act. Out of the many deep breathing techniques, box breathing is one of the most common and powerful breathing techniques that many people use to promote relaxation and find calm. With the help of box breathing, you can learn to breathe in a normal rhythm, relax your body, and improve your focus.

In this blog, let’s learn what is box breathing or 4-4-4-4 breathing, or square breathing technique and how you can use them to calm yourself down when in distress.

What is Box Breathing Exercise?

Box breathing, also known as square breathing, 4×4 breathing, Four-square breathing, or Equal breathing is easy to learn and practice. It can especially help people with stress issues. When our fight or flight response is triggered, box breathing can help in re-centering ourselves.

Box breathing is a powerful stress reliever and it can benefit all – from police officers and doctors to soldiers and people with high-stress professions. This technique involves taking slow, deliberate, and deep breaths; it involves inhaling on a count of four, holding in your breath for four, exhaling on four, and holding the exhale for four.

How To Practice Box Breathing Exercise?

This breathing technique is a simple yet effective concentration exercise that can help you calm your nerves and reset your breathing pattern. Before starting, make sure you are seated in a comfortable position (either cross-legged or with your feet flat on the ground) in a quiet, stress-free environment.

This technique requires you to focus on your breathing, so make sure you’re relaxed and comfortable.

To Practice Box Breathing, Follow These Steps:

    Step 1: Relax your body, close your eyes and inhale through your nose while counting to four. Feel the effect inhaling is causing to your body.

    Step 2: Hold your breath while counting to 4 while avoiding inhaling or exhaling.

    Step 3: Exhale slowly while counting to 4.

    Step 4: Hold your breath for a count of 4 while avoiding inhaling or exhaling.

    Repeat this process a few more times or until you begin to feel relaxed and your breathing returns to a normal rhythm.

Where To Practice Box Breathing?

Box breathing method is a very simple breathing exercise that you can practice anywhere, anytime. If you feel anxious or overwhelmed at work, you can quickly practice square breathing at your desk. If you’re anxious about meeting new people in a social setting, you can practice this technique in your car as well.

Before starting this four-square breathing exercise, you should sit with your back straight, either on a chair with your feet touching the ground or in a lotus position on a mat on the floor.

5 Benefits Of Box Breathing Technique:

Resetting your breathing help especially with the fight or flight response. Conscious or intentional breathing exercises can help you calm your nerves, find your center, and improve your focus.

The square breathing technique can have benefits such as:

Lowers Stress Levels: When our stress response is triggered, our body releases\cortisol and adrenaline that can cause our hearts to beat faster than normal, our breathing to quicken, and raise our blood pressure.

Reduces Anxiety: Box breathing for anxiety is also very beneficial. When we feel anxious, practicing controlled breathing can help bring our heartbeats and anxiety response to normal.

Calms The Mind: When you practice box breathing or square breathing, you bring awareness to the present moment, increasing mindfulness. The slowing of your breath can help you focus on the present moment and calm your anxious thoughts.

Improves Mental Lucidity: When you practice deep breathing exercises such as box breathing or 4-4-4-4 breathing, you allow your mind to clear errant thoughts, improving concentration and mental clarity.

Improves Response to Distress: Some studies suggest that box breathing can help improve responses to stressful situations and events. It can help rewire or alter how your mind reacts and responds to stressful situations. Long-term box breathing practice can
eventually help you control your responses to stressful situations and events.

In this state, our body can have severe consequences and can increase the risk of conditions such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • High sugar levels
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Box breathing or 4 square breathing can help us regulate our breathing, reduce anxiety, improve our mood, and find our calm. It can also help to manage the symptoms of:

Tips For Beginner to Box Breathing:

If you’re a beginner to square breathing exercises, then it might be a little hard for you to grasp the technique. You might feel a little dizzy in the beginning but remember that it’s normal. The more you practice, the more it’ll get easy. If you’re still feeling dizzy after a few tries, then please consult a physician for help.

It is recommended that you find a quiet place to practice box breathing as this technique requires you to focus on the effect the breathing is causing on your body. If you’re a beginner then practicing in a quiet place can help you stay focused.

Other Things you can try:

  • Keep one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach to feel the effects of the breathing.
  • Focus on the expansion of your stomach but don’t force the muscles.
  • Try to relax into the exercise as much as possible.
  • You can try incorporating this technique into your daily routine to help manage the daily stress. It is also a very helpful technique to practice during mindfulness meditation or any other kind of meditation. 5 minutes of daily 4 square breathing can be very helpful in preventing stress and promoting relaxation.

Other breathing techniques:

There are several other deep-breathing techniques that can help when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. You can practice the following two techniques while sitting, lying down, or even standing in a comfortable position.

Box breathing or the square breathing technique is an easy and effective deep breathing technique for people looking to re-center their breathing, find relaxation, and improve concentration. With this deep breathing technique, you too can reduce your daily stress and find
your calm.

Breathe in, hold, breathe out, and relax…

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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