Square Breathing

That Belly Button Breathing thing? That is your base for all mindful breathing and coping skills. Whenever you are in crisis or just “need a moment” and someone says “are you breathing?” That is exactly what they are talking about.

Square Breathing uses the same process as Diaphragmatic Breathing with the addition of two additional 4-counts added in as breaks in between the inhale and exhale. The pattern is: breathe in for 4 counts, hold that breath in for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, then hold for 4 counts before taking your next breath. Repeat. The purpose of this technique is just to provide another way to calm breathing down. I use this one more because I routinely take a lot of shallow quick breaths and try to fake that I am taking deep ones, so the break in between makes me stop and focus on what I am actually doing.

“Squares” are not the only shapes that can be used for breathing practices. Thanks to copingskillsforkids.com for their breathing activities that include the square, triangle, and star. On a piece of paper draw a multi-sided shape (triangle, square, star). Start on one side labeling it “breathe in” then continue around the shape for each side, or for more complex shapes you can use the points too, adding in “hold” and “breathe out”. When you have finished, use your finger to trace the shape as you use a 4-count to practice breathing and go around your shape.

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