Like any chronic illness, substance abuse often includes relapse. In fact, 40%-60% of people in recovery relapse within the year.
Substance abuse recovery has its obstacles but doesn’t let that deter you! Each person is different, so recovery looks different for everyone. Some treatments that work well for one person may not work for another.
There are many tools in the recovery toolbox. One tool is a simple breathing treatment. It helps many people in overcoming substance abuse.
This article will explore how a deep breathing treatment can help you in your addiction recovery journey.
Breathing and the Central Nervous System
When stress and anxiety overwhelm you, your adrenaline kicks in. The result is sometimes shallow breathing. You may also feel chest tightness and heart palpitations.
Your breath is tied to the sympathetic and parasympathetic areas in your nervous system. This is why shallow breathing can make you feel anxious and worried. If you have an addiction, these feelings can trigger a craving and substance abuse relapse.
Deep breathing balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. It also oxygenates the blood through increased cardiac output.
Deep breathing decreases your blood pressure and synchronizes blood flow harmonics to the heart rhythm. This triggers your parasympathetic nervous system and helps calm you down.
Deep Breathing Treatment for Overcoming Substance Abuse
Deep breathing exercises in conjunction with mindfulness give you a powerful tool for fighting addiction. The reason? Because you learn how to control your mind and emotions instead of letting them control you.
Some of the benefits of deep breathing:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved energy
- Reduced inflammation in the body
- Improved cardiovascular health
These are a few of the benefits of deep breathing. It sounds simple, but it’s powerful.
Mindful Breathing Exercise
Are you overwhelmed by stress? Does this make you want to relapse? Try this instead.
- Find a comfortable place to sit. Use an alert but comfortable posture, such as sitting on the floor with your legs crossed.
- Take a deep and slow breath in through your nose.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth.
- While breathing, pay close attention to how your breath feels going in and out.
Try maintaining this exercise for five to ten rounds of breath. Don’t worry about doing it “right.” Follow the directions and see how you feel.
Build this exercise into your daily routine. Once you’ve made it a habit, you’ll notice a difference over time.
It’s beneficial when you take the time to think about what you’re doing. While you’re breathing, notice your thoughts but don’t let them control you.
After you have a thought and notice it, say the word “thinking” and let the thought go.
Take Time for a Breathing Treatment
The best thing about a breathing treatment is you can give it to yourself! You don’t need any special tools or a doctor.
Commit to deep breathing and gain better control of your thoughts and emotions. You’ll build awareness around your triggers, helping you on your recovery journey.
Are you struggling with addiction or relapse? Are you ready for a recovery program? We can help. Please contact us here.