Breathing is an unconscious habit, one that our bodies do on autopilot because it’s part of our survival system, but did you know you can choose to breathe a certain way, on purpose. These certain breathing techniques are full of benefits for your mind, nervous system and body as a whole.
Conscious breathing, especially deep breathing, is a specialized form of breathing that can benefit you in so many different ways. Breathing techniques can especially help those who are going through recovery, whether from substance abuse, a mental health condition or both.
Today we’re going to break down how deep breathing can help you in all phases of recovery, from the early stages, to transitioning into sobriety, to your new sober independent living.
Why the way you breathe matters
It’s easy to overlook the power of breathing because it happens every minute of every day, whether we’re aware of it or not, and whether we want it to or not. But conscious breathing is a very powerful habit to incorporate into your life.
When you are not conscious of the way you’re breathing, it can cause your nervous system to become hyper-active, which places you in a state of fight or flight. Which can unnecessarily cause needless stress, anxiety and even panic.
If you were to be conscious of your breathing in these moments, you would notice your breathing start to become shallow, then your inhales and exhales increase in speed. You might experience a rush of adrenaline, a tightness in your throat, chest and shoulders, and find yourself suspended in stress or anxiety that might be completely unwarranted.
This happens when we have a lack of control over our breathing; our patterns of breathing directly affect our physical, mental and emotional states.
When you are aware of your breathing, however, you have the ability to better control your reactions to fear, anxiety and stress. You can actually calm your body down before it launches into a fight or flight response. Conscious breathing allows you to regulate your nervous system.
Benefits of breathing techniques
Deep breathing is the simplest, most common form of breathing techniques. To do this, you’ll breathe slowly through your nose in a gentle way, maintaining awareness of your lungs inflating, and then slowly exhaling, feeling the air leave your lungs. By doing this (especially when you’re starting to feel some sort of stress or anxiety), you help your nervous system calm down, and you train your body to remain calm, no matter the circumstance.
In addition to feeling more at ease on a regular basis, there are a multitude of other benefits of breathing techniques; in this article, we’re going to give you the top four.
4. Improved mental health
Exercise is one of the best ways to stabilize your mental health and boost your mood, your self-esteem—but it can feel like a tall order when you’re in recovery. If you’re looking for a middle ground, breathing techniques just might be it. Conscious breathwork can stimulate the breathing patterns you would normally experience through exercise.
3. Greater ability to cope with discomfort
When we regularly fuel a certain emotional state—whether it be stress, anxiety, anger—our bodies become accustomed to it, and it starts to feel normal; we seek out that which is familiar, even if it doesn’t feel good. Breathing techniques can help normalize a state of calmness, and teach your body to gravitate to healthier states of mind and body.
2. Strengthened immune system
Your nervous system is the part of you that controls your fight or flight response, which, when your body is under constantly, takes a toll on your physical health. Breathwork therapy can lower inflammation in your body and brain, and as a result, ease the internal stress your body is under, and strengthen your immune system.
1. Improving your focus and awareness
When your body is regularly under distress, whether physical, mental or emotional, you might find yourself consistently disassociating, struggling to pay attention, and having difficulty focusing on a person or task in front of you. Breathing techniques—because of the fresh oxygen your brain is receiving—are a very effective way of grounding you and giving you clarity.
Engaging in daily breathing techniques is a great way to help with your recovery, and we’re here to help.
Reach out for additional support
If you want to learn more about how to incorporate conscious breathing techniques into your life but don’t know where to begin, feel free to reach out to us.
Here at Silvermist, our mission revolves around providing a sense of belonging and a transformative experience throughout every stage of your recovery.
Our team is dedicated to helping you have the smoothest transition into a normal way of living, as possible, which is why we offer highly individualized treatments to meet all of your personal needs.
To learn more about how we can help you on your recovery journey, call us today at 724-268-4858.