The best way to live an integrated life is to connect the mind and the body, regularly. In our busy and distracted lives, this can be difficult to do. Meditation can slip to the bottom of the pile and we can put off our wellbeing practices, until we have time… Which never actually comes around.
One easy shortcut way to give our body and mind the nourishment it deserves is through our breath. One simple but effective breathing relaxation technique is box breathing. Box breathing is used by Navy Seals and is a great way to reset our bodies when we experience stressful situations, and our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode. You can do it anywhere including your work, your car or even at a café, but make sure your back is supported and your feet are comfortable on the floor.
Here’s how you do it:
Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four. Try not to clamp your mouth or nose shut. Simply avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds.
Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times. Ideally, repeat the three steps for 4 minutes, or until calm returns.
Practice it often and notice the difference. Your body cannot be in the stress response and relaxation response simultaneously, so even if your stress levels are constantly high, doing box breathing as often as you can will give your body a break and rebalance the delicate balance of chemicals in the brain.