box breathing while commuting

Box Breathing

Inhale, hold, exhale, and pause for equal counts (4 seconds each) to promote calmness and focus.


Achieve relaxation and mental clarity through controlled breathing.


People need help finding quick and effective relaxation techniques in stressful situations. Other problems include:

  • Difficulty focusing due to stress or nervousness
  • Shallow breathing leading to increased stress levels
  • Need for accessible techniques that can be practiced anytime, anywhere


Box Breathing, or Four-Square Breathing, is a simple technique to help you relax and focus.

In a nutshell:

  1. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four.
  4. Hold your breath again for a count of four.
  5. Repeat the cycle for a few minutes or until you feel more relaxed.

My Take

Box breathing has gained popularity among people from all walks of life due to its simplicity and effectiveness.

I have been practicing box breathing for years and can confirm: it’s a solid technique 👍 Box breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system – that part of your body makes you feel relaxed and at ease, like enjoying a warm cup of tea on a restful day 🍵 As you focus on the rhythm of your breath and maintain a steady pace, you’re effectively showing stress hormones, such as cortisol, the door.

Overall, I like it. I resonate a little more with other breathing techniques, but I always come back to it because it’s so simple. Box breathing can be practiced everywhere, even while commuting or in the supermarket queue 🙃


  • Easy to learn and practice (and to memorize!)
  • Requires no equipment or particular setting
  • Can be done anytime, anywhere
  • Helps to reduce stress and nervousness


  • Might not be as effective for everyone


Here is what I have learned about box breathing in the past years:

  • Holding: If I feel holding my breath for four seconds is challenging, I switch back to a shorter count and work up. No need to force anything.
  • Belly breathing: I breathe deeply and use my diaphragm instead of shallow chest breathing. This is what I try for almost all breathing techniques. It’s more relaxing. 🤙
  • Variations: Instead of the 4-4-4-4 schema, I sometimes try a variation such as 5-7-5-7. I simply enjoy the more extended final relaxation moment. This “preference” first came up for me through my experience with the Wim Hof method, if I remember correctly … 🤔