Breathing is the first and last thing we do in this world. We find it so natural that we do not pay attention to it, at least not as long as it goes well. As soon as breathing is no longer easy and becomes difficult, we become painfully aware of the necessity and the number of breaths per day (approximately 23,000 times). We extract oxygen from the air with inhalation and emit carbon dioxide with exhalation. Imagine how much effect it will have if you improve your breathing a little. 23,000 times a little bit = a lot! Oxygen is our biggest source of energy. Without oxygen, no combustion can take place in our body cells. Carbon dioxide is released during this process. Carbon dioxide is very important for the acidity (Ph) of our bodies. When the Ph is out of balance it causes all kinds of complaints such as tiredness, headache, muscle aches, digestive complaints, and chest pain.
We can breathe high in the chest or lower towards the abdomen. Our body is so conditioned to it that when we start to breathe high in the chest we will feel anxious and the need to act. In our tense society, a lot of people are breathing high causing this effect, but there is not enough muscle tension to produce carbon dioxide. Therefore the system goes out of balance. The other way around works the same, breathing low will cause the muscles to relax and rest will enter your body. Good low breathing has many benefits: It stretches the spine (pushes you more upright), massages the heart (by pressing it from below) and stimulates our body to recover (see topic Immune system).
Square breathing is a technique that uses our breath to reduce anxiety. It not only reduces physical stress but also increases mental clarity, energy and focus. It uses our heartbeat as a guide.
Breathe in counting 4 heartbeats.
Hold the breath for 4 heartbeats.
Breathe out in another 4.
Hold the breath for 4 more.
repeat the process.
You can do it any time any place, whenever you have 5 minutes to spare. It’s especially useful when you feel tension or even stress. When you feel more at ease with the count of 4 you can increase the number of beats to 5, 6, 7… but don’t force it.