Juggling work, physical fitness and family can make your chest and shoulders as tight as leather. Some days, you might feel like a deer staring at an oncoming car and do not know what to do next. In only a few minutes, you can use the square breathing technique to help you regain focus and calm your mind so that you can think better. Try this once every hour at work or whenever you feel stressed.
Meditation Made Easier
Meditation is often used for relaxation and stress relief, according to the Mayo Clinic. With relaxed breathing and a focused attention, meditation reduces the noise and clutter of thoughts in your head. Square breathing is a type of meditation that requires you to focus mainly on the rate of your breath.
Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4
In square breathing, you breathe to a count of four in four segments. Start by inhaling through your nose for a duration of 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 4 seconds, and then exhale slowly through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 4 seconds before inhaling for another round of square breathing. Hold your tongue against the roof of your mouth throughout the exercise. Do as many sets as you like until your mind feels calmer.
Use a Visual Guide
If you find yourself losing focus during the breathing process, use a square or rectangular object as your visual guide. A laptop screen, window, piece of paper, or a book are some examples. Start by focusing on the upper left corner of the square. As you inhale for 4 seconds, move your gaze smoothly to the upper right corner. Hold your breath as you bring your gaze to the lower right corner. As you exhale, glide your gaze to the lower left corner. Finally, as you hold your breath, draw your gaze up to the upper left corner. Do this as many times as you'd like. You may even reverse the gazing sequence after you do the original sequence a couple of times.
Meditation isn't a substitution for conventional medical care, regular exercise and a proper diet. Although meditation is very beneficial to healthy people, it may not be so for those with mental health problems, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Check with your health care provider before starting a meditative practice and inform your meditation instructor about your condition if you have one.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.