Grounding Technique for Anxiety #10: Square Breathing

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Square Breathing is a powerful Anxiety Management Technique. This Breathing Exercise is great for stress, PTSD, anxiety disorders, and panic attacks.

It’s not just a coping mechanism, with square breathing we channel the power of the breath to learn 2 skills: How to calm our nervous system and how to increase our resilience in the face of stress.

We can use our breath in a powerful way to trigger a bottom-up approach to managing anxiety, basically using our body to tell our brain to calm down.

This technique can be helpful for stress management, calming anxiety, and for retraining our nervous system to be dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system.

When paired with other self-regulation techniques and helpful thinking we can treat anxiety disorders and the depression they contribute to.

Square breathing can also increase our “distress tolerance” essentially helping us become comfortable even in stressful situations.

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Therapy in a Nutshell, and the information provided by Emma McAdam, is solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Emma McAdam is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health.

If you are in crisis please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: or 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or your local emergency services.


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