Box breathing is a form of diaphragmatic breathing. This technique is often employed by Navy Seals to stop the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system response and promote relaxation and focus. I teach my clients this technique when they are feeling a heightened stress response and have witnessed great results.
The process is simple. Imagine a large box in front of you; each of the sides has a number “4” beside it. Now, inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4, hold your breath for 4. Repeat.
According to the Mayo Clinic and PubMed, there’s sufficient evidence that deep breathing techniques such as this, can calm and regulate the nervous system. Specifically, the part that controls involuntary action (including fight or flight response) which leads to relaxation.
I encourage you to give this a try! People find it useful when: feeling stressed, nervous, having a difficult time relaxing to sleep. One client reports using it to decrease blood pressure while suffering from white coat syndrome at the doctor’s office!