Breathing exercises can be one of the most useful resources to tap into to help decrease stress and anxiety. We already take over 20,000 breaths a day, and it’s something you can do anywhere at any time. Learning how to become conscious of and control your breathing is a truly beneficial skill to improve your physical and mental health.

In our current society much of our stress is internally perpetuated, as well as chronic, meaning that this abnormal state in our body persists, instead of returning to optimal function or homeostasis. Reduced digestion, increased blood sugar and blood pressure can lead to weight gain and increased risk of serious chronic conditions. Using breathing techniques can actually help turn off the parasympathetic nervous system and the fight or flight response, reducing respiration rate, heart rate and blood pressure and inducing a state of calm.

Box Breathing is also known as four square breathing or sometimes called “resetting your breath.” It’s a quick technique to learn and can be highly effective for people in stressful situations. It’s especially useful to use in high stress jobs or situations where the body is often in fight or fight mode. It’s also great to use to help refocus and recenter yourself any time you need to throughout the day. You can adjust the length of time you count to once you have mastered the 4-count breath.