Breath: The Mindful Means of Reducing Stress

Breathing is something we all do ever day of our lives. How many of us are aware of how we are breathe or how deeply? We can breathe automatically without thinking about it or we can  breathe mindfully. When we choose to breathe mindfully, it can assist us to become more centered, lower our blood pressure and reduce stress. One technique for mindful breathing which has worked well for ourselves and our patients is utilizing this Rhythmic Breathing Exercise:

Rhythmic (or Box) Breathing is not only a helpful technique for rapidly decreasing stress, anxiety, heart rate or blood pressure, it also  prepares you for a meditation or a peaceful night’s sleep.

Think of your breathing pattern as if it were a box or rectangle drawn on a piece of paper with the breathing in being the left upward drawn line, holding your in-breath as the line on the top of the box from left to right, breathing out as the line going downward on the right side, and then the holding of the out-breath being the line from right to left on the bottom side of the rectangle. You slowly count the length of your breath going in, being held, or going out that is right for you. The length of your in-breath and out-breath should be the same count; just as the length of the held breath at top and bottom should be the same number of counts. As you practice your breathing, you might find that your box is actually a rectangle. Each person may find they have a different count from another person; and that is fine as we are all unique individuals. Just make certain that you are not strained in your breathing in or out or with the breath holds at top or bottom; if you find you are strained, then change the length of your counts for different sides of your “box” of breathing.

Once you find the pattern of your square or rectangular box that works best for you, go through 4 to 5 complete rounds of the rhythmic breathing and notice how your body and mind respond.

We hope this is helpful! Happy Shifting.

The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz M.D., Marion Ross PhD)

About the author: Tracy Latz, M.D, M.S., Mh.D. is a highly respected Integrative Psychiatrist with over 20 years of clinical experience in treating SAD, depression, anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Latz is a gifted speaker, teacher, seminar leader, metaphysician, author, intuitive, and has served on associate clinical faculty with the Department of Psychiatry at the Wake Forest University Medical School. She is Board-Certified in General Psychiatry, holds certifications in Mind-Body Medicine from NICABM, Medical Qigong, holistic healing, and is currently in private practice in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Marion Ross, Ph.D, Mh.D. is a transpersonal psychologist, metaphysician, holistic healer, author, and holds Mind-Body Medicine certification from NICABM. She has successful private practices in France and the U.S.

**The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at or find out more about them at

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