n today’s world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the demands of daily life. We’re constantly bombarded with information, deadlines, and responsibilities, which can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. While it’s normal to experience these emotions from time to time, chronic stress and anxiety can take a toll on our mental and physical health, leading to various health issues.

That’s why it’s important to prioritize our mental and emotional well-being by learning coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety. By taking the time to care for ourselves, we can reduce our stress levels, improve our mood, and feel more in control of our lives. One technique that can help you cope with stress and anxiety is box breathing.

What is box breathing?

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Box breathing is a simple and powerful breathing technique used to calm the mind and reduce tension in the body. It is a deep breathing technique that involves breathing in through your nose for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of four, exhaling through your mouth for a count of four, and holding your breath again for a count of four before repeating the cycle. This creates a square or “box” pattern with your breath, hence the name.

This technique has been used for centuries in yoga, meditation, and other relaxation practices, and has recently gained popularity in mainstream wellness circles. The technique stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces the body’s stress response and promotes relaxation. By slowing down your breathing and focusing on your breath, you can calm your mind, reduce muscle tension, lower your heart rate, and improve your overall sense of well-being.

Benefits of box breathing

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  • Reduces stress and anxiety: Box breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers the body’s relaxation response. This reduces the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and can lead to a greater sense of calm and reduced anxiety.
  • Lowers blood pressure: By tackling stress and anxiety, box breathing can also lower blood pressure. This is because stress hormones can constrict blood vessels and increase heart rate, leading to elevated blood pressure. With regular practice of box breathing, blood pressure can be lowered, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Improves focus and concentration: This breathing technique requires focus and concentration as you have to maintain a specific pattern of breathing. This can improve your focus and concentration skills, which can have a positive impact on other areas of your life like work or study.
  • Reduces muscle tension: When we’re stressed or anxious, our muscles tend to tense up. Box breathing often reduces muscle tension, which in turn can relieve physical discomfort and help you feel more relaxed.
  • Improves sleep: Because the breathing technique helps reduce stress and anxiety, it can also improve the quality of your sleep. This is because stress and anxiety can interfere with the body’s ability to relax and fall asleep, so by practicing box breathing before bed, you can promote a more restful night’s sleep.
  • Boosts immune system: Box breathing boosts the immune system by reducing stress and anxiety, which can suppress the immune system. When we’re stressed or anxious, our body releases stress hormones. This can interfere with the body’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses.
  • Improves digestion: This form of breathing can also help improve digestion by reducing stress and anxiety. When we’re stressed, our digestive system can be affected, leading to issues like bloating, constipation, and indigestion. By practicing box breathing, we can reduce stress and promote healthy digestion.

Step-by-step process on how to do box breathing

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  • Step 1: Look for a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down. You can sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor or lie down on a yoga mat.
  • Step 2: Relax, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.
  • Step 3: Begin by counting to four as you breathe in. Imagine the air filling up your lungs and expanding your belly.
  • Step 4: Hold your breath for a count of four. Try to keep your breath steady and even.
  • Step 5: Exhale through your mouth for a count of four. Imagine the air leaving your lungs and your belly contracting.
  • Step 6: Hold your breath again for a count of four.
  • Step 7: Repeat the cycle of breathing in for four counts, holding for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and holding for four counts. Continue this pattern for several minutes, or as long as you feel comfortable.
  • Step 8: When you’re finished, take a few deep breaths and slowly open your eyes. Take a moment to notice how you feel and enjoy the sense of calm and relaxation.

Few tips for beginners:

  • Start with small practice sessions and gradually work your way up.
  • Find a comfortable position that allows you to relax and breathe deeply.
  • Focus on your breath, paying attention to the sensation of the air moving in and out of your body.
  • Use a timer to help you fully immerse yourself in the practice.
  • Be patient and give yourself time to fully experience the benefits of box breathing.

In addition to box breathing, there are many other coping strategies you can use to manage stress and anxiety, such as mindfulness and meditation, exercise, and healthy lifestyle habits. By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can improve your mental and physical health and feel more balanced and centered in your daily life.

Featured image: @afro_child/Instagram 

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Vivian Bens-Patrick

A creative writer with a voracious appetite for fashion, beauty, lifestyle and culture. As one who's passionate about the advancement of the woman, creating content that inspire smart style and living, and positive lifestyle changes is a calling I take seriously. At Style Rave, we aim to inspire our readers by providing engaging content to not just entertain but to inform and empower you as you ASPIRE to become more stylish, live smarter and be healthier. Follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_ ♥

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