Instant Stress Relief?

In many of the conversations I’ve had lately, it’s been obvious that there’s a high demand for less stress (and more happiness) in life in general, but especially in business.

People are craving for instant stress relief!

But sometimes we overcomplicate it and forget what’s available to us anytime, anywhere.


It can be as simple as that.

In fact, if you’re looking for instant relief, it’s THE quickest, easiest and cheapest way to calm and centre yourself.

There’s this wonderful breathing exercise that I use both personally and with my clients, including THP (The Happiness Practice) cohorts. 

I use this when starting business meetings, too, sometimes. Hint, hint

It’s called 4 part breath or box breathing.

Why box breathing?

It’s a simple and highly effective deep breathing technique that you can practise for a few minutes anytime you need to

  • break free from scattered thinking,
  • interrupt an intense “fight or flight” response,
  • boost your concentration and creativity and
  • return to a state of mental clarity, inner peace and healing. 

This is one of the techniques that even Navy SEALs use to relieve stress and stay calm in dealing with high stress situations!!

How does box breathing relieve stress?

Box breathing 

  • calms your mind, 
  • helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, 
  • positively affects emotions and mental wellbeing, and 
  • improves future reactions to stress.

Also, when you hold your breath, the carbon dioxide levels in your blood increase, lowering your heart rate in response, and that activates your parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for rest and digestion.

As a consequence, you feel more relaxed and in control

Box breathing has ancient roots and is based on pranayama, an Ayurvedic form of breathwork that originated in India and is practised in yoga.

How to practise it?

Before you start, I invite you to go somewhere private, where it’s safe for you to close your eyes, you’re not disturbed and where you can sit down and relax in your chair. Place both feet on the floor and just focus on your breath.

In box breathing, you

  • Inhale through the nose to the count of 4
  • Hold the inhale to the count of 4
  • Exhale through the mouth to the count of 4
  • Hold the exhale to the count of 4

Repeat five times.

Then let your breathing go back to normal, keep your eyes still closed, and take a moment to just be in the space you’ve just created.

Take a deep breath in. And out.
Wiggle your fingers, your toes, and gently open your eyes.

Did you notice any shifts or transformations?

For guided breathing exercise, listen to episode 17 of The Insights Within Podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts – I lead you through the above mentioned exercise there. Enjoy!

I used this as part of my keynote on happiness as a competitive advantage the other week and people in the audience said they felt calmer, more centred and relaxed. As if the traffic in their heads had significantly decreased.

Feel free to utilise this in any situation in your life, not just when stressed or in demanding situations.

Taking this simple breathing exercise with you to all areas of your life, is one way of experiencing what happiness as a competitive advantage is. 

If you’re curious to explore how else practising happiness could help you and your team in reducing stress and optimising performance, just reach out.

I’m happy to help.

Much love,