Box breathing is a simple yet effective technique that can help to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and keep you within (or return you to) your window of tolerance. It involves inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling, and holding the breath again, in a steady and controlled manner, while counting to a specific number of seconds. Here is a step-by-step guide to box breathing:
The window of tolerance refers to the optimal range of emotional and physiological arousal that a person can manage effectively. The window of tolerance is a helpful metaphor I use as a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA.
As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, my clients are working on feeling, understanding, processing, and soothing their feelings. One of my favorite resources is Tara Brach's RAIN practice, a mindfulness technique that helps individuals recognize, allow, investigate, and nurture their inner experiences.
I believe therapy can be a space for insight, a space for feeling heard and understood, a space to process certain experiences, a space for you to be you. Therapy can also be a space to explore what shifts you want to make in your day-to-day life including building a better sense of who you are, soothing anxiety, increasing emotional regulation, and working on broader life goals.
In order to make those changes, you have to make shifts. You need to focus your attention on your intention to change.
***Resources are not a substitute for therapy and are not intended for making diagnoses or providing treatment. Not all practices and tools are suitable for every person. Please discuss exercises, practices, and tools with your individual therapist or health care provider.