Box Breathing for Stress

  1. Inhale 2 3 4 5
  2. Hold 2 3 4 5
  3. Exhale 2 3 4 5
  4. Hold 2 3 4 5


Last year I started meditating on a regular basis. What type? I have no idea. I didn’t even Google it or a look at FAQ’s on Siddhartha’s fan page. I simply sat in silence and enjoyed the moment. I have learned a few pro-tips about mediation, but for the most part I still do my own thing.

This post is not about meditation, it is about something much more primitive and simple: breathing. For our entire existence we are inextricably dependent on this ability. If we stop, we die. So shouldn’t we be more practiced at this skill? I don’t know about you, but my Health 101 class talked a lot more veggie servings and STI’s than how to breath. You may say, “I don’t practice. I feel fine. Why should I care?”

Good question. It has been shown that deep breathing techniques decrease both adrenaline and cortisol (study, study, study). Both of these molecules are compounds released by our adrenal glands in times when we feel threatened. If constantly released, these hormones zap our bodies’ energy, leaving us sick, tired, and sick of being tired.

I recommend the above box method to start off developing proper breathing habits.

Here is my protocol:

3 box breaths per day,

  1. Immediately after waking in bed,
  2. One right after I start my shift at work (or other errands of the day),
  3. One at night approximately 2 hours before bed (a.k.a. my chill time).

By front loading my work, relaxation, and entire day with proper breathing, I am maximizing the utility and enjoyment I wish to receive.