When left unchecked, stress has the potential to wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. Everything from daily headaches to full-blown nervous breakdowns can occur in response to chronic stress. Fortunately, you don’t have to let stress run rampant in your life. All you have to do is make self-care a top priority at the first sign of your stress levels rising. To start that journey, use this guide to learn how to combine box breathing and aromatherapy for instant stress relief.
What is Box Breathing?
Also known as square breathing, box breathing puts each inhale, pause, and exhale on a four count to slow down the stress response. By counting to four repeatedly, you also halt your thoughts before they can spiral out of control and elevate your stress levels even more.
To properly box breathe, you just need to:
- Inhale: Slowly breathe in to the count of four while paying close attention to how it feels to have the air fill your lungs
- Pause: Stay mindful of how your body feels in the moment while holding your breath for four seconds
- Exhale: Let your breath gradually flow out of your lungs for four whole seconds to slow down your breathing pattern
- Repeat: Go back to the inhale step to repeat the box breathing pattern until you feel better
Box breathing usually helps in about 30 seconds, although it could take longer in periods of high stress. You’re unlikely to spend more than five minutes on this breathing exercise before you start to feel the stress dissipate.
Best Types of Essential Oils for Stress Relief
When stress is an everyday problem, it’s wise to keep essential oils on hand at all times. Not all scents are made equal, however, as some promote relaxation a lot better than others.
The top essential oils for stress relief include:
- Clary sage
- Ylang Ylang
Depending on your preferences, you can apply the essential oils topically or put them in a diffuser to fill the room with stress-busting scents. Either way, always make sure the oils are properly diluted in water or oil to a concentration level of about five percent.
How to Combine Box Breathing with Aromatherapy
On their own, both box breathing and aromatherapy have the potential to beat stress in no time flat. When combined, however, they’re practically unstoppable in banishing chronic stress and helping you feel like yourself again.
To get the full benefits, you’ll want to start with aromatherapy by getting your diffuser going or simply applying the essential oils topically. Then, go to a comfortable spot in the room and start the box breathing process.
As you take in each breath, the essential oils will start to work their magic while the deep breathing process does the same. Within about a minute or less, you should start to feel the stress release its grip.
Once the stress levels diminish, you’ll have a much easier time thinking through the problem at hand. Plus, without stress derailing your day, your physical and mental health will greatly benefit, improving your overall wellbeing and ability to handle whatever comes your way.