“Upgraded” box/combat/square breathing

I’ve got a quick breathing drill I want you to try.

It’s a variation on “box,” “square,” or “combat” breathing.

These methods normally have you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and hold your breath with empty lungs for 4 seconds.

We’re going to tweak it a bit…

Step 1: Do a quick self assessment. Check SOMETHING…it could be pain/discomfort level, stress level, pulse, how clearly you can see something in the distance, or flexibility.

Step 2: If you’re wearing glasses, take off your glasses. Cup your hands slightly, and put the palm of both hands over each of your eyes so 100% of the light in the room is blocked.

Step 3: Do 1 set of box breathing with 4 seconds per side.

Step 4: Now, try it with 6 seconds per side…if that goes well, try 8.

Step 5: Uncover your eyes and re-assess.

For many people, this can quickly create profound change in the body. For me, it oftentimes causes me to feel simultaneously calmer and more energized, as well as see clearer.

And amazingly enough, this simple activation of the parasympathetic system will oftentimes reduce perceived pain levels.

If you saw a change and want more drills that cause immediate beneficial changes to your mind and body, you want to head on over to Upgraded Shooter where I’ve got several videos on using neurology to reduce pain for shooting, drills to calm your limbic system to help minimize the flinch response, improve range of motion, and a LOT more!

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17 Comments

  • Harold Gee

    Reply Reply September 17, 2022

    The only thing I would add is to make sure you’re not putting pressure on the eyeball itself when cupping your hands to block out the light. I’ve used a similar technique when meditating or dealing with acute stress. It can slow down or quiet the brain when past redline…

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 17, 2022

      When you’re cupping your eyes, you put the hollow part of your palm over the eyeballs and the “rim” of your palm goes against the bones around the eye.

  • Bill Schoettler

    Reply Reply September 16, 2022

    At my age (86) just holding arthritic hands over the eyes is uncomfortable. But still it did lower feeling of tension in body. Just returned from rifle range where I put 3 shots from .338 Lapua Magnum into 1/4″ group at 100 yards…so I’m pretty hyped over that. Wish I could do that with a pistol at 15 yards (or even less).

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 17, 2022

      Awesome! What kind of arthritis?

  • Leam

    Reply Reply September 16, 2022

    High Blood Pressure is a thing for me, so I measured BP before and after. Systolic dropped 14 points! Nice!

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 17, 2022

      That’s awesome!

  • Len Hastings

    Reply Reply June 17, 2021

    felt calmer, but when I removed my hand my vision was blurred momentarily. did the 4, 6, and 8 second box with out stopping

  • Jimmy

    Reply Reply June 17, 2021

    I will half to try it more it did relax me

  • Martin Minnesota

    Reply Reply June 17, 2021

    Went through boxes of 4, 6,8, and 9 seconds before uncovering my eyes.. Pain is the same. Distance vision was more clear and I was also able to read a little more clearly without bifocals. Then later I tried just one 9 second box with results not quite as good.

  • Scott Miller

    Reply Reply June 17, 2021

    After performing one set each of 4, 6, and 8 second breathing drills I found that my vision had improved.

  • Don Hutchins

    Reply Reply June 16, 2021

    Hi Mike
    I am enjoying target focus training. The material sounded familiar so I went looking through my DVD collection and found that I have Tim’s class he did with USCCA. Never to much of a good thing. Keep up your good work
    Don

  • Don Hutchins

    Reply Reply June 16, 2021

    Is this a double blind study? I’ve been doing the 4 count drill for awhile now and it works. Now to try the others.
    Thanks
    Don

  • Adam Gabriel Fernandez Rodriguez

    Reply Reply June 16, 2021

    Well I tried the regular then the tweaked one, and as I was on the last 8 seconds, my breathing started to slow down, and my thoughts, and my words, but it wasn’t anything to worry about. I quickly regained my breathing and something I almost forgot…The pain that I had in eyes went away(staring at the screen too much…) Mmmmh, is this what it means to be calm? I hope you see this. The first time I tried commenting, I didn’t see it go through.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply June 16, 2021

      How cool! Thanks for sharing that. This can definitely help with staring at the screen too much.

  • BillyBobTexas

    Reply Reply June 16, 2021

    OX, just disregard that previous semi-nasty email complaint. I’m a dumbass and jumped right down to the exercise without reading the introduction WHERE YOU TOLD US HOW TO DO IT…..I just didn’t RTFQ……!@#$%^%$#@. Sorry.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply June 16, 2021

      LOL…no problem 🙂 How’d the drill go?

  • BillyBobTexas

    Reply Reply June 16, 2021

    WTH is a “set of boxed breathing”? Looked like a good exercise – but asking us to do sumptin’ without defining it…..well, who knows how it turned out…?

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