breathing technique box breathing

Relaxation Techniques – Box Breathing

Let’s talk about stress – according to a YouGov poll, 74% of people in the UK had felt
stressed to the point of feeling unable to cope during 2018.

Sure, it might be harder to feel stressed whilst sipping on a mojito anchored in the Berry
Islands than it might be sailing the Southern Ocean, but the point is, stress affects us all at one
point or another.  This is why, here at Lovesail HQ, we thought it might be a nice idea
to create a blog series on techniques that can be used to help ease our everyday stress and

You might be wondering where this information will come from. For those I haven’t
communicated with yet, I’m Charlotte (Erica’s daughter) and Lovesail’s newest recruit.
When I’m not working on the site, I work in a qualified mental health practitioner role,
specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). A lot of these techniques will therefore
draw upon CBT and mindfulness approaches.

So! To kickstart the series the first technique to introduce is a simple breathing technique
called ‘Box Breathing’. Box breathing is quick and easy to learn and can be used in most
situations if you feel those stress levels rising.
Here are the four steps…

Box Breathing

Picture a box (or square) with equal sides

  1. Take a deep breath in through your nose, whilst counting to 4, visualise moving
    across the top of a box. You should notice your stomach pushing out like a balloon. If
    you notice your shoulders rising it’s likely you are breathing too shallowly.
  2. Hold the breath in for a further 4 seconds as you visualise following down the right-hand side of the box.
  3. Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds, travelling along the bottom of the box.
  4. Keep your lungs empty for a further 4 seconds, travelling up the left-hand side of the box.

Repeat the process until you feel calm!


  • If you find 4 seconds difficult to begin with you can try counting to 3 instead.
    Likewise, if 4 seconds becomes too easy you can try counting to 5-6.
  • You don’t just have to use this technique when feeling stressed. In fact, it’s encouraged to practice in moments of calm to become familiar with the technique.
  • It’s always good to find a quiet space to practice this, however it really can be done pretty much anywhere.
  • Relax your muscles as much as you can whilst doing this.

Here is a video that guides you through the steps:


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