I have woken with gratitude, switched on my classical music to take advantage of my initial 20 minutes, been drinking my green tea, and now it all becomes more fluid as I move forward with box breathing, reading and meditation…
While this note is about box breathing, I am not going to focus on the technique behind box breathing in it. Instead, I will post a video later today featuring Mark Divine from Unbeatable Mind which explores in depth the benefits of box breathing and includes a 20 minute practical session.
So what are the benefits of box breathing ?
There is evidence that intentional deep breathing can actually calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system. This system regulates involuntary body functions such as temperature. It can lower blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm.
The slow holding of breath allows CO2 to build up in the blood. An increased blood CO2 enhances the cardio-inhibitory response of the vagus nerve when you exhale and stimulates your parasympathetic system. This produces a calm and relaxed feeling in the mind and body.
Box breathing can reduce stress and improve your mood. That makes it an exceptional treatment for conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.
It can also help treat insomnia by allowing you to calm your nervous system at night before bed. Box breathing can even be efficient at helping with pain management.
I do not want to restrict this note to box breathing. The more I read about breathing, the more I realise that we have lost our way with it, that we appear to have forgotten how to breathe properly, and that we really do not appreciate its great benefits. A study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry found evidence to suggest that yoga breathing exercises can lead to improvements in emotional regulation. After pranayama training, participants showed decreased anxiety and negative affect, and changes in areas of the brain related to emotional processing.
In addition to the benefits I have previously mentioned, by learning a few simple breathing techniques, research indicates that you can :
Lower your heart rate
Lower your blood pressure
Improve diabetic symptoms
Better manage chronic pain
Better regulate your body’s reaction to stress and fatigue
Reduce the possibility of burnout