The Instant Calm Down Trick


Have you heard of the box breath?

I first heard it on Gwyneth Paltrow’s interview of Brené Brown on the Goop podcast. Side note, that podcast is a solid hour but well worth it. In it, Brené cites box breath as one of the key differentiators of individuals who perform under high stress. She earned my trust by admitting that she was the most skeptical until visiting an army contingent that swore by it.

Breath is one of those things most of us assume comes naturally and really doesn’t (or shouldn’t) warrant extra thought. Dan and I were once gifted a session with real life breathing coach who actually spent a productive couple hours retraining my breath which I guess I was doing backward for quite some time. Yes, it’s possible.

Now that I’m inhaling and exhaling in the right order, the box step sounded somewhat intimidating. Actually it’s a really simple way to remember to breathe in for four, out for four counts, breathe in for four, out for four like a square.

In doing it a few times I quickly realized I still have a hard time letting breath out which means I’m holding onto it and tying up energy in my body. Habituating deeper exhales apparently does a lot for creating an even keel but for an in the moment relief when you feel flooded, consciously inhaling and exhaling the box method can deescalate your inner feelings before you respond.

I’ve been focused on making meditation a part of my days since the beginning of June. Whether you call it meditation or breath work or mindfulness, I’m finding the power lies in slowing it all down, observing and accepting nothing needs to be fixed in an instant helps in those particularly challenging moments in relationships and parenting.

If you’re also looking for tools to find stillness in the occasional chaos of parenting, two of the apps I use are offering a free month trial. For a free month of the Stillpoint app, download the app here and use promo code MUMAMA. To enjoy Journey LIVE Meditation use the promo code MOTHERUNTITLED to get a free trial through the end of June.

Featured Image via That’s Just Fabulous