I am so very happy to be sharing this guest post with you today. Deep breathing exercises for sobriety is such a fabulous tool that you can use to help you out in so many different situations. To help you with stress, to help you relax, calm down and so much more. Let’s dive into some of the most common and easy to use deep breathing exercises you can do whenever you need to.
When it comes to overcoming addiction treatment and getting sober, there are many routes that you can go to help you in your journey. One often overlooked aspect of substance abuse treatment is mindfulness practices. There are numerous meditative practices that are used in the addiction treatment space to help clients relax and redirect when they are feeling overwhelmed by their alcoholism or opioid use disorder. One great exercise that can improve your physical and mental health is deep breathing exercises.
Meditative practices have been studied and shown to help with intervening with substance use disorders and preventing relapses. One of the biggest reasons that mindfulness exercises can help with addiction and relapse prevention is due to the impact it can have on stress and stress management.
It is common for men and women in recovery to experience high-stress periods, especially early in their sobriety journey that can cause cravings to use, ultimately leading to relapse. By using meditative practices to redirect this and overcome stress problems, it can help avoid relapse and encourage long-term commitment to sobriety.
Deep Breathing Techniques to Help with Sobriety
Belly breathing is a simple and relaxing deep breathing technique to help get you started. Let’s go over the steps for belly breathing:
1. Sit or lay back in a comfortable position and place one hand on your stomach just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
2. Take a deep breath through the nose and let your belly push your hand up, your chest should not move during this step.
3. Exhale through pursed lips, like if you were whistling. The hand on your stomach should go in, use it to push all the air out.
4. Repeat 3 to 10 times, don’t rush your breathing. Take your time.
This exercise should help you feel more relaxed and can help you avoid problems related to relapse.
The name may sound a bit complicated, but this one is really easy. To practice the 4-7-8 deep breathing exercise, follow these steps:
1. Exhale through your mouth completely, making a “whoosh” sound.
2. Close your mouth and inhale through the nose counting to 4.
3. Hold the breath in while counting to 7.
4. Exhale through the mouth completely, making a “whoosh” sound, counting to 8.
5. Repeat three more times.
Try to do this at least twice a day, or for those in recovery when urges to use occur. It is recommended that you do this exercise sitting with your back straight. If you feel lightheaded during the exercise, don’t panic, it will pass.
If you are an early riser, this one may be perfect for you. Let’s look over the steps for morning breathing:
1. After waking up, get into a standing position with a slight bend forward at the waist. Bend your knees a little and let your arms dangle in front of you close to the floor.
2. As you inhale slowly, return to the upright, standing position by rolling up slowly. Your head should be the last part of the body lifted.
3. Hold your breath for a few seconds in the standing position.
4. Exhale slowly and return to the original position, bent slightly forward at the waist.
This is a great exercise for getting your day started, relieving muscle tension, and helping you establish a routine – something incredibly important when it comes to mindfulness practices.
Consistency is Key
When it comes to utilizing breathing and meditative exercises for addiction recovery, and in general, you want to do your best to remain consistent and make these deep breathing exercises a part of your daily routine.
There are a number of things that you can do to help get these breathing exercises established in your routine. Try a few of these tips to help you along the way:
Set Aside a Specific Time – By setting aside a specific time during the day dedicated to breathing exercises, it can help you establish consistency at the beginning, helping you remember to breath deep when exposed to craving-inducing stimuli.
Follow Social Groups – There are tons of mindfulness groups on numerous social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, all of which are dedicated to practicing these types of exercises. By following along with others, it can help you feel encouraged in your own journey.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up – If you miss a day or a session, it’s not the end of the world. Many will give up after missing one or two sessions, but remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Mindfulness practices can go a long way toward reducing depression and anxiety, improving sleep quality, lowering stress, increasing overall physical health, and more. Doing your best to make these exercises a part of your routine will help you not only in your addiction recovery journey, but also can help improve your overall quality of life.
About the Author
Joe Gilmore is a creator on behalf of The Hope House, a luxury rehab in Arizona, dedicated to helping people overcome substance abuse and achieve long-term sobriety.