Have you ever heard of “box breathing”? a relatively intense breath pattern that can help you unwind! Learn how to use it to your advantage!
What is both breathing?
Box breathing is a technique that focuses on 4-4-4-4 breathing. It is unusual because it is evenly timed inhales, holds and exhales.
When should you use this technique?
When you need to feel relaxed but you have to be alert at the same time –for example before uncomfortable conversations or before entering an important meeting–; it is perfect for when you need a quick hit of calm.
- Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath (on full) for 4 seconds.
- Exhale out of the mouth for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath (on empty) for 4 seconds.
You can start by doing this sequence four times (about a minute of controlled breathing), then you can repeat the sequence for longer if you feel like you need it. It is not recommended for more than 20 minutes because it can cause lightheadedness.
The hardest part is holding your breath after the exhale –this will feel unnatural at first.
- Most of the evidence is anecdotic, but it helps people to achieve a calm body and focused mind.
- It helps engage our diaphragm and let air into the lower part of our lungs.
- You stimulate the vagus nerve and can help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
Although it might seem a bit uncomfortable when you first start practicing it, if you are gentle and start things slowly, in time you will have a relaxing tool that comes in handy in stressful situations.
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