7 Ways to Calm Down Blog Series, Part Three

The breath is a powerful tool for calming down that we carry with us on a daily basis. The breath is unconscious, but also in our control. When we’re under stress we tend to hold our breath or take shallow breaths, which limits our oxygen, increases body tension and further stresses our nervous system.

Box breathing is a simple breathing technique that helps you slow and deepen your breathing, reducing stress. It also uses your sight to connect you to your environment which is grounding in itself, as I talked about in the Use the Five Senses blog last week.

Box breathing

Box breathing can be done by focusing on any four sided shape in your environment, such as a picture frame.

Here are the steps:

1. Pick any object around you that has four sides. Focus your gaze on the top left corner of the object.

2. Inhale for 4 seconds, while moving your gaze along the top edge of that object.

3. Hold your inhale for 4 seconds, moving your gaze down the right edge of that object.

4. Exhale for 4 seconds, moving your gaze along the bottom of that object.

5. Hold your breath for 4 seconds, moving your gaze up the final side of that object.

6. Continue breathing and moving your gaze for a minute or two, until you feel relaxed.

This way of breathing slows and balances your breath and can be used whenever you can take a couple minutes to yourself.

There are many other helpful breathing techniques out there as well. Next week I’ll share one that’s great for falling asleep.