How to Guide and Health Benefits


  • Box breathing is a technique that involves four simple steps to focus on your breathing and relax.
  • Try breathing inhaling for 4 seconds, holding it for 4, exhaling for 4, and holding it back for 4.
  • Breathing exercises such as box breathing help reduce stress, increase focus, and improve sleep.
  • Visit the Insider Health Reference Library for more tips.

Box breathing (or square breathing) is one deep breathing exercise which helps you relax as you consciously mind to count your breaths.

Unlike other breathing exercises that do not use the breathing count or have irregular intervals between each step, boxed breathing is unique because it has four equal steps, similar to the four sides of a square.

If you see it drawing a line with each step of the exercise, you will end up with a square for when you finish, hence the name.

“Exercise can be used at any time of the day. It can be helpful for people to monitor when their anxiety or stress is at its highest point and to practice it then,” he says. David Klemanski, PsyD, MPH, a psychologist in Yale Medicine and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine.

Here are the steps and benefits for boxed breathing health.

How to perform the box breathing technique

Keeping true the rule of four box breaths, the method has four steps:

  1. Inhale slowly for four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for four seconds.
  3. Exhale slowly for four seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for four seconds.

The duration of each step can be increased or decreased depending on your comfort, but generally varies from three to six seconds. You can repeat the entire exercise for about one to five minutes.

It’s up to you whether you want to keep your eyes open or not, which helps you visualize better drawing a square. You can do the breathing exercise while sitting or lying down.

“There is no common plan prescribed for the frequency or regularity of using box breathing,” Klemanski says.


It is helpful to exercise whenever you feel stressed or anxious, but you can also do it at the same time each day to form a consistent routine and have long-term health benefits.

Health benefits of box breathing

“The parasympathetic [nervous] The system helps our body calm down, including slower breathing and a decreased heart rate. Breathing training techniques, such as box breathing, effectively to engage the parasympathetic system. That way, when we breathe slower and deeper, our body tends to be more relaxed, ”says Klemanski.

Different breathing exercises – Including box breathing – provides many benefits, such as:

“Almost anyone can benefit from box breathing, but especially those who experience chronic stress and / or anxiety,” says Klemanski.

If you have medical conditions that make it difficult to breathe, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, check with your doctor first to find out if this breathing exercise is right for you.

Take away the Insider

Box breathing is a deep breathing exercise that you can do whenever you are stressed or anxious, but you can also choose to practice it regularly when you are not stressed.

According to several studies, by paying attention to your breathing, you can reduce stress and anxiety, regulate your mood, and increase attention and focus.

“It’s not a cure for anxiety, stress, insomnia, or any other chronic day-to-day difficulties that we have to deal with. It certainly has some useful benefits backed by science, but keep in mind it’s just one component of expand our well-being and ideally should be integrated with other activities, ”says Klemanski.

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