As a follow-up to my last post about COVID and anxiety, here is one simple solution to dealing with any type of anxiety in the moment: Square Breathing!

Many of you who’ve heard of it before may be thinking, “Yeah yeah, I’ve heard of square breathing. I’ve tried it and it didn’t work.”

But hold on — what about it didn’t work for you? How did you use it, and what were your expectations? If you expected square breathing to get rid of your anxiety, then you were probably hugely disappointed. That being said, it can REALLY help. Are you with me so far? Let me explain…


Q: Why do square breathing?

-When you’re done, you have more mental clarity. You feel calmer and less anxious. This allows you to shift your perspective, at least momentarily.


Q: How is breathing going to make me feel calmer?

-It gets you focused on breathing and counting. In other words, it puts you IN THE MOMENT.

-Deep breathing has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, which sends a signal to your body that you are not in danger. Result: You feel relaxed and calmer.


Q (kind of): Ugh, but it’s a whole THING and it takes so long.

-It’s convenient. You can do it wherever, whenever, and no one will even know it’s going on!

-It takes only 2 MINUTES for you to do this 5 times. That includes any pauses between each cycle. Think of it as a super brief time investment in order to wipe your mental slate clean.


Q: Alright, you’ve convinced me. How do I do it? Does it even help when I’m done?

1. Identify when anxious thoughts are overwhelming you.

2. Do square breathing.

3. Take advantage of your calmness and try to channel your thoughts in a different direction. Even if the anxiety is still there in the background, think about what you CAN do to take action on the problem NOW. Action —> Sense of control —> Reduced long-term anxiety.

More on this later!

Disclaimer: All blog content is intended for information only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Using, accessing, or browsing this website does not create a physician-patient relationship between you and Dr. Masifi or any site contributors.