Box Breathing: A Method to Manage Stress

May 23, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

So much inner conflict, anxiety, depression, PTSD. We have tools to combat this that don’t include pharmaceuticals, therapy or other harsh interventions. Americans have been conditioned (operant conditioning, B.F. Skinner) to rely upon others for their own well-being, health and happiness. Happiness comes from within. Most figure this out at some time in their life. Never for some.

Learning to manage our own breath, leads to managing our emotions, which affects our blood chemistry, relative organ function and overall health. Box breathing and other methods cost nothing but time, effort and a realization that our nation’s healthcare crises can be improved when people take responsibilities for their own health and relative outcomes.

From a report from the White House:

“There are several indications that Americans were experiencing a mental health crisis prior to the pandemic. Between 2008 and 2019, the percentage of adolescents (ages 12 to 17) that reported having experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year increased nearly 90 percent, from 8.3 percent in 2008 to 15.7 percent in 2019, while the percentage of young adults (ages 18 to 25) reporting at least one major depressive episode in the past year increased a similar 81 percent from 8.4 percent in 2008 to 15.2 percent in 2019 (Figure 1). Over roughly the same period, suicide death rates among individuals 10 to 24 years of age increased 47 percent. Although rates of depression were highest among adolescents and young adults, more broadly in 2019, over one in five adults age 18 or older were classified as having a mental illness, and more than 13.1 million (or 5 percent) of adults had disorders that were classified as serious because they substantially interfered with or limited one or more major life activities. Rates of mental illness were highest among those age 18 to 25, females, and those reporting their race as other, as shown in Figure 2.

Among children age 3-17, the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders from 2013 to 2019 were ADHD (9.8 percent), anxiety (9.4 percent), behavioral problems (8.9 percent), and depression (4.4 percent). These disorders often begin in early childhood: approximately one in six U.S. children age 2-8 had a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder.”

Deeper breathing is a key component to having a long and healthy life. Through focused and deliberate breathing methods, many positive mental and physical benefits can be achieved. Box breathing is a technique to slow one’s breathing rate per minute (BPM). Slower BPM allows precise self-regulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, also referred to as the or the “rest and digest” response or the sympathetic nervous system also known as “flight or fight” response. Both of these responses regulate our blood chemistry which can affect emotions as well as organ function. This technique needs to practice regularly and often in order to gain the benefits of deep and regulated breathing. One time will not do much.

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Tai chi, qigong, martial arts, meditation, yoga and some other exercise curriculum often offer box breathing techniques and many others. I have been practicing, studying and teaching these methods for almost 40 years with incredible results for myself and the hundreds of others that I have shared this knowledge with.

Reference:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/cea/written-materials/2022/05/31/reducing-the-economic-burden-of-unmet-mental-health-needs/

I write often about topics that affect our health and well-being. Additionally, I teach and offer lecture about qigong, tai chi, baguazhang, and yoga. I also have hundreds of FREE education video classes, lectures and seminars available on my YouTube channel at:https://www.youtube.com/c/MindandBodyExercisesMind and Body Exercises on Google: https://posts.gle/aD47Qo

Jim Moltzan

407-234-0119

www.MindAndBodyExercises.comwww.Amazon.com/author/jimmoltzan


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