Box breathing

Controlled breathing can be a useful tool for feeling calmer wherever you are.

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How can this help?

A simple way of thinking about it is that bringing your breathing to a regular rhythm sends messages to your brain that there is no threat present. This can cause your heart rate to slow and other physical symptoms of anxiety or worry to decrease.

Like many healthy activities, the way to get the best out of relaxation techniques is to practise over time as regularly as you can. It’s worth remembering that not every technique works for every person, so if you find this isn’t helping you don’t be disheartened.

If you want to find out more, there are many published articles on research into breathing exercises such as

Useful terms to search for are controlled, regulated and Pranayamic breathing and attention to breath (ATB).

When shouldn't I try this technique?

If you feel lightheaded when completing breathing exercises, or if you have previously hyperventilated when focusing on your breath, be cautious when trying controlled breathing. Consider trying this when you have someone else with you.

If you have any respiratory conditions, it may be wise to check with a medical professional before trying breathing techniques.


Practise this for as long as you need to, to feel the benefits.

You can keep repeating the exercise until you start to feel calmer. Paying attention to both mental and physical signs, like your thoughts and your heartbeat slowing down, will help you to notice when you are starting to feel better.

This technique can be used in a variety of circumstances and doesn’t require a calm environment. It's easy to memorise and can be practised almost anywhere.