Box breathing is a popular practice for calming the body and mind, bringing yourself into ease. I find it to be a lifesaver when experiencing reactivity, anxiety, stress, cravings, anger, any type of disregulation (feeling uncentered or imbalanced).
Box breathing is VERY simple! It’s free! You have do it anywhere, anytime without anyone knowing. Try it out and see how it works for you.
1. Inhale to the count of 4
2. Hold for a count of 4
3. Exhale for a count of 4
4. Pause between breaths for a count of 4.
Do this as many times as you need to help regulate your nervous system.
When we are triggered (the flight-flight-freeze), our amygdala is activated. Our prefrontal cortex, the area where we problem solve, goes offline. Dan Siegel calls this “flipping our lid.” It’s hard to think clearly, make decisions, etc. That’s why telling someone who’s upset to calm down is futile.
Box breathing is one tool that can help get the prefrontal cortex back online. It helps regulate the nervous system.
The Compassionate Breath
The lovingkindness twist on the box breath integrates both mindfulness and compassion. It’s a whole body practice – calming the body, heart and mind. Give it a try when you’re experiencing hurt, sadness, regret, or doubt. It can really be helpful when you’re inner critic is loud or you’re stuck in a story, replaying a challenging conversation.
The box breath – lovingkindness style – helps disrupt the mind’s busyness while calming the body by treating ourselves like a supportive friend.
Hope this helps! Sending you encouragement as you walk your path one (box) breath at a time.