We’ve all heard about the benefits of taking time out of the day to meditate, but sometimes trying to find the time to do it just adds to the feelings of stress. I bet you can take a minute though! Try box breathing for a quick calm.
It can heighten performance and concentration while also being a powerful stress reliever. It’s used by everyone from athletes to U.S. Navy SEALs, police officers, and nurses.
Sit upright with feet flat on the floor
Breathe in 4 counts
Hold 4 Counts
Breathe out 4 counts
Hold 4 counts
Repeat x 4 cycles, focusing on filling and emptying the lungs completely.
Benefits of box breathing (science-y stuff)
There is sufficient evidence that intentional deep breathing can actually calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
This system regulates involuntary body functions such as temperature. It can lower blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm.
The slow holding of breath allows CO2 to build up in the blood. An increased blood CO2 enhances the cardio-inhibitory response of the vagus nerve when you exhale and stimulates your parasympathetic system. This produces a calm and relaxed feeling in the mind and body.
Box breathing can reduce stress and improve your mood. It can also help treat insomnia by allowing you to calm your nervous system at night before bed. Box breathing can even be efficient at helping with pain management.