Learning to use your breath is a powerful way you have for improving reducing stress & anxiety, and to deal with demanding situations. It impacts in a positive way our concentration, thinking capacity & well being. Our thoughts are not overwhelming, our heart rate begins to slows as our nervous system is sent signals by the breath to calm. So we begin to feel calm. Box Breathing, also known as Four-Square Breathing is one method of breathing that can help you achieve this calmness.
Box Breathing is a technique where you take slow, deep breaths while counting to four while you breathe in, hold for four, breathe out for four, hold for four.
Take a seat if you can and make sure you are not slumped. Sit upright, but do not push yourself into an upright position that is uncomfortable.
Focusing on your out breath, slowly exhale, so all the breath is out of your lungs.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four (counting slowly in your head)
Focus on the breath as it comes into your body and how it feels.
When your lungs are full hold your breath for another slow count of four.
Exhale through your mouth for a slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen. Focusing on the breath as it leaves your body and how it feels.
Then hold your breath for another 4 counts and repeat the whole process again 3 more times.
So once you have completed the 4 sets (1 inhale & 1 exhale is one set) then take a moment and check in with yourself. See how you are doing. If it helps you can repeat the process again.
Although it can help to do this seating in a quiet place there are times when this is not possible. So it's ok giving this a go, when you are in the Dentist waiting room; sitting in a traffic jam; in a queue. If you are sending and doing this, it helps to get a sense of the ground before starting. To do this just press your feet into the floor a little bit so you get that sense of being supported.
Want to learn more about Box breathing then check out this video on Ten percent Happier where Jay Michaelson talks Dan Harris about the technique and talks him doing it.