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This effective breathing method may enhance your mental health



This effective breathing method may enhance your mental health

Your breathing may become affected when you’re facing a deadline at work, finding it difficult to get your kids out the door in the morning, anticipating a challenging but crucial exam, or dealing with any of the other countless difficulties that come with modern life. It’s possible that you’re breathing in shallow, unsatisfactory breaths that don’t expand your chest or fill your lungs. Alternatively, you might observe that you’re holding your breath for long stretches of time without even breathing.

These are common effects of stress on breathing that many people encounter. But just because something is normal doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and it can eventually negatively affect your wellbeing.

There are methods for controlling your breathing even under pressure. Box breathing is one such controlled breathing method that was created and made popular by a former Navy SEAL, a person with a great deal of first-hand experience dealing with stress on a daily basis.

For the majority of us, the majority of the time, we are under stress. Fortunately, there is a simple, accessible method for improving your functioning during stressful times: box breathing. Let’s discuss some of the numerous advantages of box breathing, define it, and go over some methods and best practices.

How Does a Box Breathe?

Box breathing is a deliberate breathing method defined by even, rhythmic, and slow air intake and release (Ahmed et al., 2021). Square breathing or four-square breathing are other names for it. The fact that this breathing technique consists of four steps, each of which should take the same amount of time, usually four seconds, is reflected in the names “square,” “box,” and “four-square.” The following are the four sides of the square, or the four steps in the box breathing sequence:

  • a slow, even breath in followed by a moment of holding your breath in your lungs
  • a slow, even release of breath, followed by a pause before taking another breath
  • The next four steps are then repeated for a duration of one minute to twenty minutes, or possibly longer.

The former Navy SEAL who popularized this breathing technique, Mark Divine, suggests doing ten to twenty minutes of box breathing every day.

Box breathing is a technique that you can use for as little as one or two minutes at any time during the day once you are comfortable with it. Box breathing can help you decompress, remain calm, and keep your mind clear and focused (Divine, 2016).

Box breathing has the potential to help you achieve a “neutral energetic” state, claims Divine. You might experience a sensation of alertness, groundedness, and readiness to act, but not of excitement or relaxation.

Box Breathing Method

The box breathing method is easy to use. There are four steps involved. Because a square has four equal-length sides, the box breathing technique has steps that take the same amount of time. It is generally advised that you begin by taking four seconds for each step, even though you may need to shorten or lengthen them respectively. The four actions are as follows:

  • Take four deep breaths.
  • For four seconds, hold your breath.
  • Take a four-second breath out.
  • For four seconds, hold your breath.

Next, carry on with the procedure as often as desired. To ensure the anxiety-relieving, calming, and energizing effects of box breathing, many practitioners and instructors advise spending at least one minute doing so (Divine, 2016).

The Advantages of Box Breathing

One method of deep, deliberate, or reflective breathing is box breathing. Similar to digestion, breathing is a physiological function. But breathing is a physiological function over which people have some conscious control, unlike digesting.

Box breathing is an intentional breathing technique that helps you focus on your breathing and deliberately regulate it. You might be able to breathe more deeply by doing this than you might if you were breathing subconsciously.

Deep breathing has numerous physiological advantages (Gerritsen & Band, 2018). By raising oxygen levels in the brain, deep breathing may improve cognitive function, focus, mental clarity, and concentration. Additionally, the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated by deep breathing. The body’s hormonal and chemical communication system is in charge of helping the body recover from stress.

Deep breathing has many health benefits, including lowering heart rate, regulating digestion, and possibly even improving eye health. As a result of all these particular physiological effects, you might feel less stressed, more at ease, and more rooted.


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