Until very recently breath practices were largely considered unproductive or just silly. It didn’t have any appeal to anyone who liked to consider themselves “macho.”
However, the tide is shifting. More and more people are realizing just how much a practice focused on breathing can both increase one’s energy and their efficiency.
In fact, the strongest and toughest people on the planet are no strangers to breath practices. Both the SWAT teams and Navy Seals are proponents of focusing on their breath. They found it helps them perform at their highest level. It simultaneously helps them keep their nerves in check and increase their focus.
When the stakes are on the line these service members use a technique called Box Breathing. Though an old technique this name was coined by former Seal Commander Mark Divine. Instead of letting the stress of the moment jolt them into sudden actions they bring awareness to their breathing. For this specific technique members take :04 inhales, hold :04, exhale for :04, and hold again for :04. By staying calm in this way they can make smart decisions and in the end stay alive.
Unfortunately the media and our own personal lives make it abundantly clear that we allow the immediate stress of situations lead us to make poor snap decisions. Like the SWAT Teams and Seals try taking a step back today. If you know you are about to enter a tense situation or find yourself suddenly in one, stop. Focus on your breath and try making the inhale, inhale hold, exhale, and exhale hold all the same length. After a few breaths you’ll be able to make better decisions and choose the right words.