Box breathing is a powerful yet simple relaxation technique that aims to return the breath to its normal rhythm. This breathing exercise can help clear the mind, relax the body, and improve focus. This technique is also known as breathing zeroing or four frame breaths. It’s easy to do, quick to learn, and can be a highly effective technique for people in stressful situations. People with high-stress jobs, such as soldiers and police officers, often use box breathing when their bodies are in combat or flight mode. This technique also applies to anyone who wants to re-center themselves or improve their concentration.
Box Breathing Method
Box breathing is a simple technique that a person can do anywhere, including a desk or cafe. Before you begin, you should sit in a comfortable chair with supported backs and feet on the floor. Box breathing methods consist of four stages and this is as follows:
1. The eyes are closed, slowly counting to four, and in the meantime it should be breathing through the nose, and it should be felt that the air is entering the lungs.
2. While counting slowly up to four breaths should be held. The mouth or nose should be tried not to be squeezed. Breathing or breathing should be avoided for 4 seconds.
3. After the second stage, start exhaling slowly for 4 seconds.
4. Steps from 1 to 3 should be repeated at least three times. Ideally, the three steps should be repeated for 4 minutes or until calm.
However, if it is difficult to hold breath for 4 seconds in this breathing technique, it can be counted up to three instead of four, and after getting used to this technique, the breathing time can be increased to five or six.
Why Is Breath Vital to Health?
Box breathing can help positively affect emotions and mental health. Working to reset one’s breath, leaving it in fight or flight mode is good for both mind and body. The unconscious body or autonomic nervous system refers to functions that take place without any thought, such as heartbeat or stomach digestion. This system can be in a state of fight or flight or rest and digest. In fight or flight mode, the body feels threatened and reacts to help the person escape or avoid a threatening situation. Among other benefits, the body releases hormones to make the heart beat faster and raise blood sugar levels. However, having this stress state and activating it too often or for too long have negative health consequences. The physical effect of this situation can cause every system in the body to wear out. Long-term stress can increase the risk of certain conditions, and these include:
• Heart attack
Exercises for conscious breathing allow the person to overcome the stress situation and stay calm.
Benefits of Box Breath
There is research to support that box breath has benefits and there are four potential benefits. These four potential benefits are as follows:
Reduces physical stress symptoms in the body: Deep breathing techniques have been found to be significantly reduced in the production of stress-related hormones such as cortisol. In one study, participants showed lower cortisol levels and increased attention levels after deep breathing.
Affects emotions and mental health positively: According to some studies, the use of breathing techniques affects anxiety, depression and stress.
Increases mental clarity, energy and focus: A study has shown that breathing techniques can bring better focus and a more positive perspective. Participants in the study were also more able to manage impulses such as those associated with smoking and other addictive behaviors.
Improves future reactions to stress:
Research suggests that box breathing may have the ability to alter one’s future responses to stress. Researchers have reported that relaxation response practices such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can change how the body responds to stress by changing the way certain genes are activated. Genes have different roles in the body. One study found that relaxation response practices increased the activation of genes associated with energy and insulin, and decreased the activation of genes associated with inflammation. According to this study, this effect occurs in both short and long term applicators of these techniques, but the effect is more important in long term users.
Tips for Box Breath
There are several steps people can take to ease box breathing and these steps are as follows:
• Although this technique can be done in any environment, a quiet and calm place should be chosen. Because it is an easier method if there are few distractions.
• With all deep breathing techniques, placing one hand on the chest and the other on the lower abdomen may help. In addition, one should try to feel the air while breathing and see where it enters.
• Focus on feeling an enlargement in the stomach, but not pushing out the muscles
• While doing this exercise, try to relax the muscles rather than tense them.
In addition, this technique should be included in the daily routine and can be used in conjunction with other mindfulness exercises. However, it can be started at least 5 minutes after waking up or without entering the door after coming home. Meditation after first box breath puts you in a deeper state of mind in meditation. In addition, box breathing is a method that can be used to prepare for a stressful event, such as talking, and to calm down during or after a stressful event.
Other Deep Breathing Techniques
Pranayama breathing is a breathing method used to increase alertness and maintain calmness. Many breathing techniques are classified as diaphragmatic breathing or deep breathing. Box breathing is one of the easiest to master and is a great introduction to breathing methods. There are breathing methods commonly used to increase alertness, calm nerves, and provide calmness. These breathing methods are as follows:
- Pranayama breath
- Alternate breathing through the nostril
- Meditation breath
- Shaolin Dan Tian breathing
- Sama Vritti or equal breathing
- Abdominal breathing techniques
- Nadi Shodhana or alternating breathing
- Closure or skull-shining breath
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Guided visualization
There are also many apps that assist new learners of how to do guided meditation and breathing practice, while many people use deep breathing techniques independently.
It is reported by experts that adding four simple breathing exercises to the daily routine will provide greater level of consciousness and relaxation. Box breathing is just one of many breathing methods that can be beneficial in reducing daily stress. Studies have shown that this technique and others can provide immediate and long-term benefits. Although more research is needed, current studies are convincing in their evidence of box breathing as a powerful tool in managing stress, regaining focus, promoting positive emotions and mental state.