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Reduce Stress with Square Breathing

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

From time to time we all need a quick way to destress. A great way to do this is a simple technique called Square Breathing.

If the situation permits, sit down in a comfortable position with a straight back and close your eyes. But if you're around others or at work, just simply pause what you're doing, sit or stand still and turn your focus inward.

The steps to practice square breathing are:

• Inhale slowly and deeply for 4 seconds through your nose. Focus your attention on the air filling your belly or coming in through your nose.

• Hold your breath for 4 seconds.

• Exhale deeply through your mouth for 4 seconds. Focus your attention on the air leaving your belly or passing through your lips.

• Hold your breath for 4 seconds.

• Repeat.

Here's a simple diagram of the process.

If you find your mind is still wandering while you're doing square breathing, try counting in your mind "1 2 3 4" during each segment.

Researchers report that in addition to reducing stress, square breathing can be used to help with insomnia, anxiety, depression and pain control.

So give it a try. It can be used briefly many times a day, or in longer formal sessions.

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