People say to take a deep breath while in anxious situations. What can taking deep breaths do? Breath work that has been followed since ancient times in yogic practices has numerous benefits. This blog is a comprehensive guide on how to perform breathwork that benefits in calming nervous responses to stressful situations. Let’s find out more about box breathing and its benefits here!
What is box breathing?
Box breathing, commonly referred to as square breathing, is a slow and deep inhalation method. It is a potent stress reliever and can improve performance and concentration. This technique goes by several other names, such as:
- Equal breathing.
- 4×4 breathing.
- 4-4-4-4 breathing.
- Four-square breathing.
Anyone can benefit from this method, but those looking to meditate or de-stress may find it extremely helpful. As one counts to four, the attention gets diverted, the nervous system calms down, and the body’s level of tension reduces. Box breathing is a quick and effective relaxation method that can restore a peaceful rhythm to breathing. The focus increases as the thoughts become quiet and clear.
How to Perform a Box Breath?
Learning to breathe in a box is simple and quick. Anyone can perform this technique, which is helpful when one has to refocus or increase concentration levels during stressful times.
Find a calm, dimly lit area to practise box breathing to assist in concentrating on breathing.
Step 1: Exhale slowly.
Exhale slowly through the mouth while sitting upright. This will remove all the oxygen from the lungs. Be aware of the actions and the goal.
Step 2: Breath slowly.
Take four calm, deep breaths through the nose to the count of four. In this phase, mentally count to four slowly.
Until the lungs are completely filled and the air is moving into the abdomen, feel the air filling each part of the lungs one at a time.
Step 3: The next step is to hold the breath for a count of 4 .
Step 4: Continue to exhale.
Step 5: Hold your breath again for a count of 4
Expel the air from the lungs and abdomen by exhaling through the mouth for a slow count of four. Pay attention to the sensation of air leaving the lungs.
The box breathing cycle should ideally be performed four times in one session. To soothe the nerves and reduce stress, practise box breathing several times each day.
It can be challenging for a beginner to get correctly practice box breathing. It is normal to feel dizzy after a few rounds of box breathing. It is possible to practice for longer if one practises it more frequently. If one feels lightheaded, sit still for a minute and start breathing normally again.
What are the advantages of box breathing?
Research has proved that deliberate deep breathing can control and relax the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This system regulates the body’s involuntary processes, including temperature. Box breathing can bring about an almost immediate sense of calm and reduce blood pressure.
As one holds the breath, carbon dioxide can accumulate in the blood. Due to this, during exhalation, the vagus nerve, which is the parasympathetic nervous system’s main nerve, helps reduce heart rate, control digestion, and improve sleep.
The sympathetic nervous system is hyperactive during stressful situations. Box breathing can assist in emerging from that state. The result is a state of serenity and relaxation in both the body and mind.
Box breathing is a particularly effective treatment for mental illnesses, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). It can also assist in treating insomnia by enabling the mind and body to relax before bed. Even managing pain with box breathing can be effective.
Where can box breathing be practised?
One can practise box breathing anywhere. It is not exclusively for stressful times. It can be practised at work, home, public, or anywhere else. One can use it to relax the body and mind, giving oneself a chance to reboot and stay alert.
The nervous system is adaptable, and with proper practice, it is possible to make it less responsive to stress. Learning box breathing and practising it often can help lessen the response of the body and mind during times of anxiety. Professionals suggest practising it twice a day, irrespective of how one feels, to gain better results.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens in the body during a tense situation?
During an anxious situation, the breath becomes shallow and quick. This makes the body more stressed . During this time, the sympathetic nervous system stays on high alert and creates a flight or fight situation. Box breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming down and relaxing.
Does box breathing control hormone production?
Studies say that box breathing reduces the stress hormone cortisol production, thus improving mood.