Fort Wellness Counseling

What is Box Breathing? Plus Tips for Beginners

box breathing

Ever heard of box breathing? This popular relaxation technique involves taking slow, deep breaths. And while it might not sound like much, there are numerous health benefits.

Research shows that practicing controlled, deep breathing positively impacts both the mind and body. And this simple, four-step technique has been shown to help people destress, treat anxiety and depression, and ease pain. Stay tuned, and we’ll tell you all about it.

What Is Box Breathing?

So, what is box breathing? Well, it’s a deep-breathing exercise that promotes relaxation. As the name suggests, it uses the image of a box (with four equal sides) to help pace your breathing. For that reason, it’s also known as “square breathing” or “4×4 breathing.”

Box breathing relies on visualization, so you can practice it anytime and anywhere. In fact, Navy Seals have been known to use it to calm their minds and ease tension in stressful situations.

Benefits of Box Breathing

Whenever we’re anxious or stressed, our body subconsciously prepares itself to confront danger. For some people, this feels like an inability to catch their breath. For others, it’s elevated heart rate and/or blood pressure.

Box breathing counteracts that stress response by encouraging relaxation. This is because your heartbeat slows, your muscles relax, and your blood pressure stabilizes as your breathing deepens. Additionally, a 2023 study of breathing exercises confirms that daily, 5-minute breath work reduces anxiety and improves mood.

Research also suggests that box breathing:

How to Practice

Now that we’ve covered box breathing and its benefits, how do you practice it? Well, as we mentioned, this relaxation technique only involves four simple steps.

Start by visualizing a four-sided box. Then, with each step, imagine that you’re tracing one side of the box. We recommend beginning at the top corner and working your way around. (Once you’ve returned to the starting point, you’ve completed one round).

    1. Tracing the top of the box, inhale through your nose while counting to four.
    2. As you follow down one side of the box, hold your breath for four counts.
    3. Tracing the bottom of the box, exhale for four counts and release all the air from your lungs.
    4. Going up the other side, hold your breath for four counts.

If four seconds feels too long — or too short — feel free to adjust your count for each step. (Try three or five seconds, for example). Then, repeat the sequence three or four times.

Fort Worth Counseling Services

As anxiety counselors in Fort Worth, box breathing is one of our favorite relaxation techniques to recommend to clients. Not only does this simple practice calm your mind and body during stressful moments, but research suggests that it soothes symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as enhances cognitive performance.

In addition to box breathing, there are numerous relaxation techniques that can help you cope with anxious feelings. If you need help determining which methods work best for you, contact our team today.

how to cope with holiday stress

How to Cope with Holiday Stress

How to Cope with Holiday Stress By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP Say No to Prevent Burnout There are an abundance of obligations that

functioning alcoholic

What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

What is a Functioning Alcoholic? By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP When someone is deemed a ‘high-functioning alcoholic,’ they’re able to carry out daily

what is assertive communication?

What Is Assertive Communication?

What is Assertive Communication? By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP So, what is assertive communication? Well, in a nutshell, this communication style aims to

EMDR therapy Fort Worth, Texas

What is EMDR Therapy?

What is EMDR Therapy? By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP Ever heard of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy? More commonly known as EMDR,

Brainspotting therapy for trauma release

What Is Brainspotting Therapy?

What is Brainspotting Therapy? By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP Brainspotting therapy is a kind of alternative therapy that is gaining immense popularity in

a person practicing gratitude and enjoying the benefits of it.

12 Benefits of Gratitude

12 Benefits of Gratitude By: Rane Wallace, LPC, LCDC, SAP With Thanksgiving coming to a close, we thought it was fitting to explore the link

a female suffering from seasonal depression.

How to Avoid Seasonal Depression

How to Avoid Seasonal Depression By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP Daylight savings has officially come and gone. For most of us, this means

Scrabble pieces that say inhale, exhale and repeat.

10 Best Ways to Calm Yourself Down

10 Best Ways to Calm Yourself Down Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP When we’re navigating social media, complex relationships, and performance pressures, it’s easy

A female that is stressed out.

The Effect of Stress on Your Body

The Effects of Stress on Your Body By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP Are you feeling stressed out? Overwhelmed? Increasingly anxious? If so, you

A male that is experiencing a panic attack and severe anxiety.

How to Stop a Panic Attack

How to Stop a Panic Attack: 9 Strategies By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP If you’ve experienced a panic attack, then you know how

A male that is addicted to porn and looking on his computer.

8 Signs You Are Addicted to Porn

8 Signs You Are Addicted to Porn (And How It Ruins Relationships) By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP As a porn addiction therapist, I