Posted by: dopaminedialogue | 07/06/2010

Square Breathing: treatment for anxiety without using medication

Someone requested that I post the instructions for Square Breathing (sometimes called Four-Square Breathing), the technique that is helpful for relaxation and/or relief of anxiety or panic. Here they are:


Breathe in for 4 seconds,

Hold it in for 4 seconds.

Breathe out for 4 seconds,

Repeat this 4 times.

For more on square breathing or other breathing/relaxation techniques, here are some websites:


  1. Since this is all about mindfulness (being in the moment) you really want to focus exclusively on your breathing, letting go of other thoughts, feelings and distractios. I find it easiest
    to sit or stand straight with eyes closed arms and legs uncrossed. It’s pretty amazing!!

    • Yes! Thanks for putting it in the right context Barb. 🙂 I wasn’t very “mindful” when I posted it…but the links that I posted following the instructions go into greater detail as well.

  2. Wow this helped me a lot when I was feeling stressed out.

  3. […] Feeling anxious now? Try square breathing. […]

  4. […] breathe—four seconds in, hold for four seconds, then four seconds out. This is called “square breathing” and has been shown to help with tension and […]

  5. […] of Michigan health): 4-7-8 breathing, roll breathing, and morning breathing. There is also square breathing. There are as many ways to breathe as there are people! […]

  6. Inhale through your nose with mouth closed, exhale through your mouth with lips pursed (as if you were whistling or puckering for a kiss). Make the exhale twice as long as the inhale (for example, inhale for the count of two (two seconds), exhale for the count of four (four seconds).
    This breathing technique (Pursed Lip Breathing) is often practiced by people who have breathing/lung problems when they are short of breath, but isn’t just for that situation or group.
    Lengthening the exhalation in relation to the inhalation lowers the breathing and heart rates and stress level, which in turn clears the mind and focuses the thought process.
    The pursed lips during exhale are important, giving a physical aid to opening air ways, allowing lungs to empty more thoroughly, which leaves more room for oxygen on the inhale.

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