Box Breathing is a simple yet powerful technique for down-regulating stress and improving focus. Known as the breathing technique used by NavySEALs, commander Mark Divine, creator of the SEALFIT fitness program, has been using it since 1987 as a critical piece of his daily routine.
The great thing is, you can use this technique anytime you’re in a stressful situation, during a meeting, while you’re driving or waiting in line. Instead of ramping up your stress level, shift to Box Breathing and build your mental fitness muscles instead.
- Calms the mind
- Downregulates the nervous system
- Improves focus
- Oxygenates the body
- Builds concentration
- Find a comfortable seat, either crossed-legged on the floor, hips slightly elevated or in a chair, feet on the floor.
- Straighten your spine, pull your shoulders back and down.
- Gently close your eyes or relax your gaze and soften your jaw.
- Exhale to begin, then focus on your breath as you breathe in through your nose for a slow count of 4. Keep your awareness on your breath as you feel it travel down to the base of your lungs for a full belly breath.
- Hold your breath for a count of 4 seconds.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
- Hold for another count of 4 on the exhale or go straight into another round of 4 count breathing cycles, holding only on the inhale.
- See if you can soften your belly and deepen your breath with each inhalation.
- Repeat the breathing cycle for as long as you need to until calm returns.
Recommended practice: As frequently as necessary to down-regulate a stress response. Include up to 10 rounds as part of your daily practice.