What do you do when you feel anxious?
If you’re a US Navy SEAL, then you’ll probably turn to this method first as a way of regaining your concentration in stressful situations.
Yet, for those of us who aren’t one (and I’m guessing that, like me – you probably aren’t…) we can still learn how to do the same thing and get the benefits from it! This simple technique can be used by anyone and requires minimal training while providing maximum results.
What are the Benefits?
There’s a lot of medical evidence to show that this kind of intentional deep breathing can calm the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates our temperature and blood pressure. As you’ll know from the times when you’ve felt super stressed out, these are the first things that shoot up when we sense that we’re under pressure.
On account of the evidence that it alleviates stress and lifts your mood, box breathing is even recommended for a range of anxiety disorders such as generalised, panic, post-traumatic stress and to alleviate depressive symptoms.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, you can also try this technique to get your mind and body into a more relaxed state. Getting trapped within a cycle of insomnia only exacerbates anxious feelings, so getting a good night’s sleep will help you to regain your inner calm as you go through the next day.
So, what is Box Breathing?
Quite simply, it gets its name from the cyclical 4-step pattern that we need to follow – which can literally be imagined in the shape of a box…
Begin by sitting up straight with your hands facing upright on your knees and your eyes closed, just like you would for a normal meditation.
☞ Slowly and evenly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds, emptying your lungs completely of air. As you do this, make sure that you’re focusing on the intention of regaining your physical calm.
☞ Hold your breath for 4 seconds with empty lungs.
☞ Breathe in deeply for 4 seconds through your nose, filling your lungs as much as possible and making your abdomen rise up.
☞ Hold your breath for 4 seconds with full lungs.
That’s all there is to it!
Next time you feel nervous, rushed or frantic – give this simple technique a try to see if it helps you. This method takes very little time to do, but can easily and effectively bring your body back into balance.
Sometimes the simplest ways really are the best, aren’t they?