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Grounding technique: Box Breathing

Grounding techniques are ways that we can bring ourselves back to the present moment. There are many ways to ground and I’ll be exploring a range of ways to do this over a series of posts.

Some benefits of grounding techniques include: 

  1. Can be done in any given moment.
  2. Many of these techniques can be done without anyone else noticing what you are doing.
  3. A little goes a long way especially if you are struggling to carve out a longer self care slot.
  4. Many of these techniques do not require any equipment.

Often the biggest challenge with grounding techniques is remembering to actually do them (especially when you may need it most). 

Grounding techniques generally come to you more naturally during times of stress when also practiced during non-stressful moments and may even minimise overall feelings of stress/upset/anxiety.

First up is “Box Breathing”. This is also known as “Square Breathing”.

How To:

  1. Breathe in over 4 seconds.
  2. Hold for 4 seconds.
  3. Breathe out over 4 seconds.
  4. Hold for 4 seconds.
  5. Repeat


1.There are several breathing techniques, find what grounds you.

2.You can change the length of seconds (e.g. instead of 4, try 5 seconds) or you can try a longer exhale than inhale.

3.Grounding through the breath does not soothe everyone. If you have had difficult experiences with your breath e.g. asthma, panic attacks, trauma; connecting to your breath might be more unsettling than soothing.

4.If connecting to your breath is challenging, there are many alternatives including:
– Breathe in/out/hold to the flow of a song/music.
– Tightening/releasing a body part to the same count (e.g., curl your toes in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, release over 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds.

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