How to Reduce Stress Like a Navy SEAL

An insanely simple, five-minute trick.

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U.S. Navy

These are stressful, uncertain times. How are we supposed to be calm and productive workers amid all this chaos?

There is one simple way to cage the monkey on your back we call stress, and it can be done anytime, anywhere. It’s called box breathing — a time-honored stress-reducing technique endorsed by none other than the U.S. Navy SEALs. For them, it’s a way to stay calm and focused — and, therefore, alive — before and after intense combat. For us civilian folk, it’s an insanely simple trick to keep everyday stressors at bay. And it can be done in five minutes flat. Here’s how:

How to Breathe Like a Navy SEAL

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Step 1: Find a comfortable chair or place to lie down.

Step 2: Inhale for 4 seconds (while the circle above is expanding).

Step 3: Hold air in your lungs for 4 seconds (while the circle is expanded).

Step 4: Exhale for 4 seconds, emptying all of the air in your lungs (as the circle contracts).

Step 5: Hold your lungs empty for 4 seconds (while the circle is contracted).

Step 6: Repeat for five minutes, or as long as is necessary to feel refocused and relaxed.

Source: QuietKit, which also offers meditation tips for beginners through experts.

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