Box Breathing

I have a tool I’d like to teach you. It’s called Box Breathing. No, I didn’t invent this tool. I don’t know who did.

It’s a simple breathing technique that is very useful for those with anxiety and depression. It can help you to relax and lower your all around stress level. I can’t guarantee it will remove your stress, but many people I’ve worked with have said it worked wonderfully for them in helping them to feel more grounded and relaxed.

It’s called Box Breathing because it takes the simple act of breathing and breaks it down into 4 steps. Ready? Here we go:

  1. Take a slow breath in through the nose for 2 to 4 seconds. (It doesn’t have to be deep, just slow)
  2. Hold it for 2 to 4 seconds
  3. Breathe out slowly through the mouth for 2 to 4 seconds
  4. Wait for 2 to 4 seconds

You can see why it’s called box breathing when you look at the pattern. When each step says to do it for 2 to 4 seconds, that is just a guideline for you to find what is comfortable for you. The times don’t have to match on each step. You might breathe in for 4 seconds, but breathe out for 2 seconds, and only wait for one second. It’s up to you to find what is comfortable.

I suggest practicing it for a few minutes twice a day until you have found a pattern that works for you. You can use this as a daily meditation to clear your mind and relax. When a stressful situation comes up, you can use this during that stressful situation. I’ve talked to people who use this while walking through crowded areas, while in a meeting for work, and even while dealing with customers. They said it helps them get through that stressful situation and were able to handle it much better than they used to.

Try it out and see what you think.

Shawn Williamson LPC