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5 Benefits of Box Breathing

Last Updated: October 27, 2020

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There is a reason why everyone from Navy Seals, elite athletes, and stressed-out parents use this breathing style.

Learn Box Breathing

Box breathing has become a go-to breathing technique in recent years for a lot of great reasons. 

What is box breathing? Here are the basics:

  1. Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds. box-breathing-gif
  2. Hold for 4 seconds.
  3. Exhale for 4 seconds.
  4. Hold for 4 seconds.
    Rinse, repeat.

If you only have time to do 4 cycles, in about 2 minutes you’ll feel the difference. Even better, if you can get in 5 minutes or more, you will get even more benefits. 

Now that’s you’ve got the basics, let’s take a look at how this easy breathing exercise will help you out. 

Benefits of Box Breathing

  1. Easy to Remember - the whole idea behind the name box breathing is to make it easier to remember under pressure. So you can call it box breathing, square breathing,  4*4 breathing, or whatever is easiest for you. There are a lot of great exercises out there for different uses, but you can think of Square Breathing as the jack of all trades, and can get the job done in all situations.

  2. Gets the body and mind out of fight or flight mode - when you are stuck in fight or flight, it is harder to focus; you may feel anxious and jumpy. This obviously isn't ideal for a lot of reasons, like making it harder to make good decisions, get dialed in, and breathe efficiently. Box breathing will help lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breaths per minute, and even lower the stress chemicals in your body.

  3. Find Calm - that's right, when we get out of fight or flight, we feel calmer, less stressed, and less jumpy. All those stress hormones in the body such as adrenaline, and cortisol serve important purposes, but if they show up at the wrong time, such as when we are under excessive pressure, it can lead to missed shots, bad decisions, volatile emotions.

  4. Find Focus - When we are less stressed it is much easier to focus on the mission at hand, whether on the battlefield, on the court, or in the boardroom. Here is where a proper stress management technique comes in handy. When your heart rate slows down, it tells your body that you are safe and there is no need to be worried about the threat lurking. This lets your brain direct all of your attention to the task at hand. 

  5. Perform Better - it's no secret; if you can’t focus you can’t perform your best. When you are able to concentrate and cut out all of the noise, not only does the job gets done, the job gets done better. 

 

As you can see, all of these benefits build on each other like the solid foundation of a pyramid; building from the breath to the systems of the body, to the brain, and finally, how we act in the real world.

Benefits of doing box breathing

Perform at Your Best

"Breathing is a lost art and science," according to NY Times best-seller James Nestor. If you aren't using box breathing, or other techniques daily, you aren't performing at your best- and you definitely aren't living your best life if you aren't breathing properly. 

Want to learn more about breathing better?

Check out the Breathing 101 certification course at the Academy from Anahana to give you the tools, confidence, and support to take your breathing and your life to the next level!

REFERENCES

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/take-a-deep-breath

https://time.com/4316151/breathing-technique-navy-seal-calm-focused/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/#__ffn_sectitle

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/stress-raising-your-blood-pressure-take-a-deep-breath-201602159168

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