Square Breathing - My Favorite Technique to Lower My Heart Rate -
If you are like me and your fight or flight sirens fire off in full force while you are panicking, you're probably no stranger to a pounding heart, shallow breathing or hyperventilation, feeling antsy and pacing, or even sweating etc.
Square breathing is my go-to coping skill I put into action when I start to feel my nervous system acting up. This immensely helps at slowing down my heart rate when it's beating as fast as a hummingbird's wings.
It's called square breathing or "box breathing" primarily due to how it is graphically presented / explained.
Here's how you do it:
1) When you start to feel panicky or feel a fastened heart beat, try to relax your body and stand or sit up tall. You want to breathe from you diaphragm and not from your chest. A good rule of thumb is to place your hand on the top of your belly; when you breathe in you should feel his part of you move up and down, NOT your chest.
2) Take a nice and slow breath in through your nose and slowly count to 4 while you are inhaling. Remember to place your hand on the top of your belly to control your breathing. I like to breathe in as far as I can, really pushing my limit.
3) Next, hold this breath in for 4 counts.
4) Slowly begin to exhale, count slowly to 4. I also like to push myself at this step and really try to blow out any and all air that's left in you.
5) This is the "relaxation" stage where you resume normal breathing for 4 seconds.
I make myself do this at least 3 times when I am anxious but you can definitely do it as many times as you need to. This technique has 100% saved me from hyperventilating. It is a great trick to slow down your resting heart rate.
BONUS: I've learned that this is also a great exercise to do even when you're not anxious to help keep your anxiety at bay.