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Box Breathing Can Help Lower Cortisol Levels

Box Breathing Technique instructions pdf

Box Breathing: A Powerful Tool for Weight Loss by Reducing Cortisol Levels


When it comes to weight loss, we often focus on diet and exercise, but there’s another important factor to consider: stress. High levels of stress can hinder weight loss efforts by increasing cortisol levels in the body, which can lead to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area. In this article, we will explore how box breathing, which is a simple and effective square breathing technique, can aid in weight loss by reducing cortisol levels and promoting a more balanced and relaxed state of being.

Some people refer to this as combat breathing because this technique is used in the US Navy, while others refer to this as tactical breathing, square breathing, or even combat tactical breathing.

No matter what name you call it, it will help reduce cortisol and stress which is always good for you!

1. Understanding the Link Between Stress, Cortisol, and Weight Gain

Chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that plays a crucial role in our body’s stress response. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to increased appetite, cravings for unhealthy foods (especially those high in sugar and fat), and a higher tendency to store excess fat, particularly in the abdominal area. This combination can hinder weight loss efforts and contribute to weight gain.

2. The Power of Box Breathing for Stress Reduction

This breathing technique is a simple yet powerful technique that helps reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. By engaging in controlled and deep breathing, you activate the body’s natural relaxation response, counteracting the effects of stress and cortisol.

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3. How Box Breathing Lowers Cortisol Levels

Box breathing influences the body’s stress response by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for promoting relaxation and reducing cortisol levels. The structured breathing pattern of box breathing helps regulate the breath and calms the mind, signaling to the body that it is safe and can release tension.

4. Incorporating Box Breathing into Your Weight Loss Journey

To incorporate box breathing into your weight loss journey, follow these steps:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  2. Close your eyes and relax your body.
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose, counting to four.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  5. Exhale slowly through your mouth, counting to four.
  6. Pause for a count of four before repeating the cycle.

Engage in this technique for at least five minutes, ideally incorporating it into your daily routine. Practice it whenever you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or when cravings for unhealthy foods arise.

5. Enhancing the Effects of Box Breathing with Healthy Lifestyle Choices

This technique can be a very valuable tool for weight loss by reducing cortisol levels, it’s important to remember that it’s just one piece of the puzzle. To optimize your weight loss journey, consider incorporating the following healthy lifestyle choices:

  • Balanced nutrition: Focus on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods while avoiding processed and sugary items. A balanced diet supports overall well-being and complements the effects of box breathing. This website is a great resource for all types of nutritious low carb recipes found under the healthy recipes tab above.
  • Regular exercise: Engage in regular physical activity that you enjoy. Exercise not only supports weight loss but also helps manage stress levels and boosts mood.
  • Quality sleep: Prioritize getting enough sleep to allow your body to recover and regulate cortisol levels. Practice good sleep hygiene by establishing a consistent sleep routine and creating a sleep-friendly environment.
  • Stress management techniques: Alongside square breathing, explore other stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, or journaling. Finding activities that help you unwind and reduce stress will further support your weight loss goals. Walking near a stream of water is my favorite stress relief. It’s important to find a technique that works for you and your interests.

Remember that weight loss is a holistic process, and adopting a comprehensive approach that includes both physical and mental well-being will yield the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can box breathing alone lead to weight loss? Box breathing is a valuable tool for stress reduction and cortisol regulation, which can indirectly support weight loss. However, it’s important to combine it with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and other lifestyle choices for optimal weight loss results.
  2. How frequently should I practice tactical breathing for weight loss? Aim to practice box breathing for at least five minutes daily. However, feel free to incorporate it more frequently throughout the day during moments of stress or food cravings.
  3. Can square breathing help with emotional eating? Yes, box breathing can help regulate emotions and reduce emotional eating tendencies. By practicing box breathing during moments of stress or emotional distress, you can create a pause and make more mindful choices regarding your food intake.
  4. Are there any side effects of using this breathing technique? This breathing technique is generally safe for most individuals. However, if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your routine.
  5. Can this breathing exercise replace other weight loss strategies? Box breathing is a supportive technique for weight loss, but it should be combined with other strategies like a balanced diet and regular exercise for optimal results. It is not meant to replace these essential components of a healthy lifestyle.


Incorporating box breathing into your weight loss journey can be a powerful tool for reducing cortisol levels and managing stress. By practicing this simple breathing technique, you can promote relaxation, balance, and support your overall well-being. Remember to combine box breathing with other healthy lifestyle choices to optimize your weight loss efforts and create a sustainable, holistic approach to your health.

Take a deep breath, embrace the power of box breathing, and embark on your weight loss journey with a calm and focused mind.

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