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Square Breathing

Thank you for visiting this page. I'm assuming you're here because you're reading "Growth Mindset For Your Child" and you're looking for some more information about Square Breathing.

Square Breathing is a technique that can help when the adrenaline starts to flow and the "fight or flight" response begins to kick in. Essentially it involves you controlling your breathing and creating a pace and symmetry to it.


Its origins may be in Pranayama, the ancient practice of breath control, and it is now practiced in slightly different forms and called different names. Sometimes it's called diaphragmatic breathing, box breathing, or 4x4 breathing.

It's been known to help people who are suffering from a variety of issues related to the nervous system and research published in Frontiers in Psychology found significantly lower cortisol levels in those who had undergone breathing intervention training as well as significantly increased sustained attention after training, compared to baseline.

"This study provided evidence demonstrating the effect of diaphragmatic breathing, a mind-body practice, on mental function, from a health psychology approach, which has important implications for health promotion in healthy individuals."

Ma, X., Yue, Z. Q., Gong, Z. Q., Zhang, H., Duan, N. Y., Shi, Y. T., Wei, G. X., & Li, Y. F. (2017). The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 874.

The technique can be illustrated in the graphic below

Breathe in transparent.png

The idea is that you breathe in for a measured count, often 4 beats, hold your breath for the same amount of time, exhale over the same amount of time, then once again hold your breath for the same amount of time.

There are various variations which encourage a quicker inhalation and a slower exhalation however they tend to have different goals in mind.

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