Square Breathing

When I am trapped in the grip of anxiety, my thoughts are so rapid that I feel out of control.  As my anxiety grows, I tend to feel it in my chest.  My chest feels tight, and I feel my emotions simmering, ready to boil over.

As I lose control of my thoughts, I also begin to lose control of my emotions.  I often feel a mix of sadness, anger, and overwhelming stress.  I have tried to use techniques that I learned in cognitive behavioral therapy, but if I do not use those techniques early in the process, they are not helpful.

I recently learned a helpful technique for calming a racing mind called square breathing.  The beauty of square breathing is that you can do it anywhere.  It is best to be in a quiet room, but you can use this technique while driving, while in a meeting, or at the dinner table.  

Square Breathing:  

1.  As you breathe in, count to 4
2.  Gently hold your breath as you count to 4
3.  Breathe out as you count to 4
4.  Pause with empty lungs as you count to 4
5.  Repeat

If you perform this for two minutes, you should feel a lessening of anxiety.  

As you are breathing, you may think anxious thoughts.  Simply set aside the thoughts and keep focusing on your breath and on counting.  You will find that you will start to take deeper breaths. This means that you are relaxing.

Of course, this technique does not solve the problems that led to your anxiety, but square breathing can calm and center your mind so that you can think logically.

If you have any simple techniques to deal with anxiety, feel free to leave a comment.  


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