Box Breathing: Learn how to shortcut your relaxation response and refocus in seconds

Stress and anxiety is on the rise, pressures from work, home and our technology devices make it difficult to escape the responsibilities of the day to day at any time. Being constantly “switched on” at any hour from shift work, overtime and being on call, make it difficult to establish a regular routine to wind down.

It is up to us to run our day, not for our day to run us.

Being in a proactive state as opposed to a responsive or defensive manner can really mean the difference between adapting and easily solving problems, and being consumed by our “to do” list. When we can predict and prevent potential problems, pre-planning and solutions come easily, as opposed to the later where we end up frazzled, telling everyone about how “busy” we are, and end up being far less productive.

Easily turn your mental state around.

We all have 2 minutes, waiting in line, before we leave our parked car, on our break, before we start our commute home, or even when we pull up in the driveway. Breathing techniques are so time efficient at changing our state or mindset. As utilizing our diagram is strongly linked to stimulating our Parasympathetic Nervous System, responsible for the “rest and digest” state. And 2 minutes is all it takes to perform a box breathing technique.

Breath in, hold, breath out, hold.

It is that simple, taking 3-5 seconds to breathe in, holding for 3-5 seconds, breathing out for 3-5 seconds and then holding for 3-5 seconds. It can take a few tries to get used to, and a wonderful resource is the Box Breathing App, will keep you in check. With different levels you can set, and free to download this app will guide you easily to a state of calm in just 2 minutes.

Repeat daily.

The more you do it the better, doing this every morning when you wake is a fantastic way to start the day. At times it can be a preventative approach, just by performing the technique before each shift can really add up to shift your focus and gain a sense of stillness. Also, as contrast when you feel unsettled, overwhelmed or stressed, it can be useful tool to implement on your break. At times, compassion fatigue can slowly and gradually creep up on us, so implementing strategies like box breathing in regularly can help.

 By Amy Benn


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