March Wellness Reminder – Breathing

As we come up on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic in the U.S., we want to take this time to remind people to reconnect with your wellness. It is important to find moments in your week for self-care as we both process the past year and prepare for the one ahead of us. 

Wellness tip of the week: Square Breathing 

Also known as box breathing, or four-square breathing, this is a breathing technique that will help slow down your breaths, strengthen your breathing muscles, and calm your mind. The pattern has four parts: breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4, then repeat. 

  1. Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet environment. You should have good posture, sitting up straight, to allow your lungs to completely fill and empty. 
  2. To start, exhale slowly through your mouth until you feel like you have emptied your lungs.
  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose while counting to four slowly in your head. Inflate your lower lungs first by sending air deep into your belly, then fill up your chest. You shouldn’t need to move your shoulders during this. 
  4. Hold your breath, with your lungs full of air, and count to four in your head again. 
  5. Exhale slowly through your mouth, start from your belly then move to your chest, to the count of four.
  6. Hold your breath without air in your lungs to the count of four again. 
  7. Repeat 4 times in one sitting, ideally a couple times each day. 

If you feel light headed, dizzy, or uncomfortable, you can always count faster or count to a different number. The purpose is simply to intentionally breathe slower than usual.  As you practice, you should find that it gets easier. Return to normal breathing for at least a few breaths before and take care when standing up.

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