Square breathing for anxiety
Feeling a bit hot under the collar? Square breathing is one of the simplest mindfulness techniques I know to cool your frayed nervous system, reduce anxiety and ‘calm the farm’.
And best of all you can do square breathing literally anywhere, without anyone knowing!
Why should you use square breathing?
The Square breathing technique (also called ‘box breathing’) is going to slow down the rate of your breathing. And it’s specifically your lengthened exhale that is like putting your foot on the brake and ‘down-regulating’ (calming) your nervous system.
This is why I recommend square breathing for anxiety management.
How to do square breathing
- Visualize the four sides of a square in your mind’s eye. Or find a square shape in front of you to look at. e.g. your phone (square’ish), a window, your laptop screen.
- Inhale as your mind travels along the first side of the square. You may want to count slowly up to 5 of 6. It can be any number, as long as you are focusing on slowing your breath down.
- Hold your breath as you travel along the next side. Again counting to 5 or 6.
- Exhale as you travel along the third side. Counting to 5 or 6 slowly.
- Hold your breath as you travel along the final side counting to 5 or 6 slowly.
- Start again 🙂
- Check-in with your body. What physical sensations are you aware of? Do you feel calmer than before?
How long should I do square breathing?
As long as you like. You only need 23 seconds of mindful breathing to reduce your heart rate according to Dr Corey Yeager (read his article on MindBodyGreen)
I hope this helps you