Are you feeling stressed out and in need of some relaxation, but feeling like there just isn't time in the day for it? Well, just take a breather... literally. Let's chat about a powerful method of breathing that can truly add so many benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally to your day: Box Breathing!
Also known as square breathing or four-square breathing, box breathing is a simple, yet powerful, technique that can promote increased physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It's easy to do and can be done anytime, anywhere (preferably without those littles)! But what exactly is box breathing and how does it work?! It's a technique where you inhale for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold the breath again for a count of four. Repeat this pattern several times and voila! You've got yourself a steady and rhythmic breathing pattern that can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. I like to visualize drawing a box while breathing as my eyes are closed and one hand on my heart center and the other on my belly. Wandering thoughts may enter, but just kindly usher them out and get back to focus on those breaths. Want to take it a step further? Envision that with each breath, you are filling up that box with positive energy, a powerful affirmation, patience, or anything that you feel like you want to focus on with intention.
But the benefits don't stop there!
Physical benefits: Box breathing can help to improve cardiovascular health by slowing down the heart rate and reducing blood pressure. Additionally, box breathing can also improve lung function and increase oxygenation to the body’s tissues, which can boost energy levels and improve athletic performance.
Mental benefits: One of the most significant benefits of box breathing is it's ability to reduce stress and anxiety. By slowing down the breath and creating a steady rhythm, box breathing can help to calm the mind and ease feelings of tension and worry. Additionally, the practice of box breathing can also improve focus and concentration, making it an excellent tool for anyone that struggles with attention while completing a task.
Emotional benefits: Box breathing can help to regulate emotions and improve emotional well-being. The deep, slow breathing pattern can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “relaxation response”. This can help to reduce feelings of anger, sadness, and other negative emotions. Additionally, the practice of box breathing can also help to improve self-awareness and emotional regulation, making it an effective tool for managing emotional triggers.
Now, I know what you're thinking, "5 minutes a day? That's it?" or "5 minutes a day? I don't have time for that!" 5 minutes a day of box breathing can have a positive impact on stress levels. I challenge you to take those 5 minutes for you, 10 is even better to notice the benefits. Maybe do this to start the day before the kids wake up, do it mid-day when you feel that anxiousness arrive, or do it before sleep to de-compress from a crazy day. Wherever it's sprinkled in, it is a powerful way to fuel your mind, body, and soul each day.