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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Learning to Relax: Square Breathing

For many people learning to relax can be a real challenge. If they have very busy personal and work-related lives, they might not even realize just how overwhelmed with stress they are because feeling this way has become a "normal" way of life.

When I talk to people about de-stressing, some of them tell me that they don't have time to go to the gym or to yoga class. Some of them say they don't even have time to go for a short, brisk walk to de-stress. When clients in my psychotherapy private practice tell me this, I tell them about a simple technique that helps most people to calm down relatively quickly, even when they feel overwhelmed with anxiety. This simple technique is called Square Breathing.

What is Square Breathing?


Square Breathing is a technique that people often learn in meditation or yoga class or when they come to see a mind-body oriented psychotherapist. When clients who are anxious come to my psychotherapy private practice in NYC, I often teach them to do Square Breathing:

Breathe in slowly to the count of four. Feel your lungs filling up with air.

Hold your breath to the count of four.

Breathe out slowly to the count of four. Feel your lungs emptying.

Hold your exhalation to the count of four

Repeat until you feel calmer.

Even though it's such a simple technique, Square Breathing helps most people to calm down and feel better. And you don't need to go to the gym or to a class to do it. You just have to remember to have the presence of mind to do Square Breathing when you feel anxious.

In order to cultivate that presence of mind, it's best to practice doing Square Breathing even when you're not feeling anxious or overwhelmed so that you'll be familiar with this technique and can use it when you need it without having to think too much about how to do.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up an appointment for a consultation, you can call me at (212) 726-1006.

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