Box breathing: for relaxation and centering
Every state and emotion has a corresponding breathe pattern. Breathe has the ability to voluntarily bring you in and out of emotions. It can be used to activate your sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system causing stimulation or relaxation. It can influence your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA-axis) your stress response system, as well as all your neurotransmitters and hormones. Box breathing is an excellent and easy way to decrease your stress, cortisol, and bring you into a calm state in minutes.
Box Breathing steps
Sitting upright, slowly exhale, getting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Focus on this intention and be conscious of what you’re doing.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. In this step, count to four very slowly in your head. Feel the air fill your lungs, one section at a time, until your lungs are completely full and the air moves into your abdomen.
Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen. Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs.
Hold your breath for the same slow count of four before repeating this process
Box breathing can be performed anywhere and can have its calming effect in minutes. The army use it, and I use it while driving, while working, before I meditate, and any time I want to bring myself in a calmer state of mind.