I’ve got a few Jedi techniques up my sleeve that allows me to remain calm and focused even in the eye of the storm. One of them is box breathing, which is used by Navy SEALs, CEOs, elite level athletes and high performing individuals across all domains. This article teaches you how to do it.
A Skill of Will
We all get into stressful situations from time to time. Whether that be receiving unexpected mail, meeting deadlines, being stuck in traffic, almost getting hit by a car, doing public speaking or arguing with someone you don’t like.
All random SHTF events cause anxiety and stress. It’s an adrenaline driven state, which can override any rational thought and actually decreases our ability to deal with the situation. If we get overly aroused, then we will fail. We get in our own way and too caught up with our mind.
Imagine yourself being able to remain calm even in the midst of chaos. When everything around you is in flames, you’ll still be calm and centered. This would be an awesome superpower to have.
In fact, we all possess this ability. We just have to train it and then willingly tap into our zen-like state that calms our monkey mind and makes us extremely focused on the task at hand. Consciously controlling our breath allows us to do just that.
Benefits of Box Breathing
Box breathing is a mindful technique that allows you to become present and more in touch with what goes on inside you. There are also other awesome benefits, such as:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved blood circulation
- Good for digestion
- Increased lung capacity
- Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode)
- Allows you to control your autonomic nervous system
- Makes you calm and relaxed
- Helps you to sleep better
- Allows you to stay in control in stressful situations
- Gives you a better perspective and improves the quality of your overall life
- It’s quick and easy
Practice This Box Breathing Technique
To get those benefits, you have to practice it like any other skill. Unconditioned minds will remain weary unless they’re trained otherwise. If meditation is Jedi-like training for your mind, then box breathing is warrior training for your central nervous system. If done habitually, then the effects of it will be quite profound.
The technique follows a box-shaped pattern with 4 stages. Each facet lasts for 4 seconds. More is fine but less would make you gasping for air, which is actually a stress response. The breaths have to be deep and with a full range.
Deep box breathing cycles:
- Inhale for 4 seconds
- Hold for 4
- Exhale for 4 seconds
- Hold for 4
- Repeat for about 20-25 cycles (4-5 minutes)
How to Breath Really Deeply
It’s important to breathe deeply while doing this. Shallow breathing stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and causes stress.
How to do deep belly breathing:
- Relax and soften your body. You can place your hands on your stomach to make it easier to feel.
- Breath in from the bottom of your stomach.
- Move upward towards the top of your lungs
- Hold for a second
- Exhale starting from the top of your lungs
- Move downward to the deepest depths of your diaphragm again
- Push all of the air out
We should all pay more attention to our breathing. It not only stimulates the autonomic nervous system but is also the gateway between the conscious and subconscious mind. If your respiration remains unconscious, then its pattern becomes dysfunctional. That’s where overall mindfulness comes in handy.
How to Do Box Breathing and When
Box breathing can be done anywhere and at any time. It differs from meditation because you don’t have to become as centered. The idea is to simply stay mindful of your respiration and follow the box shape pattern.
But are you going to be doing 4 minutes of box breathing in stressful situations? Will you be obsessively counting seconds of all your inhalations and exhalations? Not really, because you need to focus more on the task at hand. Instead, this technique teaches you the skill of how to remain calm and not let anxiety overcome you.
Box breathing teaches you mindfulness, which allows you to notice yourself in the midst of chaos and remain in control of your thoughts and actions. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced every day and which you draw upon whenever needed.
During stressful situations, you won’t be doing 4-4-4-4 because you don’t have the time nor the means to do so. You’ll simply remain mindful of your breath and keep breathing deeply. This will make you more aware of what goes on inside you and within your environment. As a result, you’ll be able to stay focused and calm.
Most people can’t even control what goes on inside them. They lack any self-mastery whatsoever. Box breathing is another Jedi technique up your sleeve and a skill for being a successful warrior in anything you do.
I’ve also created a guided meditation track, in which I walk you through 4 minutes of box breathing, in addition to other things. Join the Body Mind Agoge to get your soundtrack begin your Superhuman training today.
Stay Calm, Stay Empowered!