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How to Practice Square Breathing for Better Focus, Clarity and Energy

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

As you progress in your career, your responsibilities multiply, which can result in increased stress and anxiety levels. Stress and anxiety have their benefits. They help us identify risks, prioritize, and can provide energy and motivation to perform tasks. The problem with stress and anxiety is that too much can lead to a fight, flight, or freeze response. These responses are necessary if you are in life-or-death situations but tend not to be helpful when you are getting ready for an interview or preparing to review your financial performance with your boss. You want to be clear-headed, purposeful, and confident during those moments. As a manager, you have a lot of responsibilities and challenges to deal with every day. If your stress and anxiety are getting in the way of you being the best version of yourself, it will benefit you to develop some techniques to assist you in remaining calm, present, and positive during stressful situations.

Woman with eyes closed

One simple and effective technique is square breathing, also known as box breathing or four-square breathing. It is a type of deep breathing that involves inhaling, holding, exhaling, and holding your breath for equal counts. It can help you calm your mind, relax your body and boost your energy levels.

Here are some benefits of square breathing for managers:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.

  • Improve your focus and concentration by clearing your mind of distractions and enhancing your cognitive performance.

  • Increase your clarity and creativity by stimulating your prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for higher-order thinking and problem-solving.

  • Enhance your energy and mood by releasing endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood boosters.

How to practice square breathing:

  • Find a comfortable and quiet place where you won't be disturbed.

  • Sit or lie down with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.

  • Close your eyes or focus on a point in front of you.

  • Breathe normally for a few seconds to settle in.

  • Start by inhaling through your nose for a count of four, filling your lungs with air.

  • Hold your breath for a count of four, keeping your chest still.

  • Exhale through your mouth for a count of four, emptying your lungs completely.

  • Hold your breath for a count of four, keeping your mouth closed.

  • Repeat this cycle for four minutes or as long as you feel comfortable.

You can practice square breathing anytime you need a break or feel stressed. You can also use it before an important meeting, presentation, or decision to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. You can adjust the counts according to your preference and capacity as long as they are equal.

Square breathing is a simple but powerful tool that can help you manage your emotions and improve your performance as a manager. You can reap the benefits of better focus, clarity, and energy by taking small breaks in the day to practice this breathwork. Like any practice, you will build your strength in effectiveness over time. The more you practice this habit, the better you will get at being able to calm and center yourself. This will allow you to be the best version of yourself as you go into stressful and challenging situations.

Key points:

  • -Square breathing is a type of deep breathing that involves inhaling, holding, exhaling, and holding your breath for equal counts.

  • It can help you reduce stress, improve focus, increase clarity, and enhance energy as a manager.

  • You can practice it anytime you need a break, feel stressed, or before an important task or event.


Thank you for reading this blog

Executive Coach Dorian Cunion

Dorian Cunion is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant with Your Path Coaching and Consulting. He is a former retail executive with over 20 years of experience in the retail industry. He is a Co-Active coach who focuses on helping professionals and small business owners overcome insecurities, knowledge gaps, and lack of direction. He does this by assisting clients to tap into their values, recognize their strengths, and develop actionable strategies for growth.

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