Top 5 Benefits of Breathing Techniques in Addiction Recovery

Top 5 Benefits of Breathing Techniques in Addiction Recovery

Have you ever taken a deep breath and found you instantly felt lighter? Health experts have recommended deep breathing techniques (or “breathwork”) across fields as a holistic means of stress management. The benefits of deep breathing techniques go beyond just feeling relaxed. You can also improve at mastering different kinds of breathwork or deep breathing techniques to help you in many different situations.

Different Kinds of Breathing Techniques

Breathing is so natural you may not even notice it most of the time. You take breaths every moment of the day because your life depends on the oxygen you inhale. However, you can train yourself to be more intentional with your breath to achieve more than simple survival.

The most common breathwork practice is deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. When you take a deep breath, your diaphragm muscle contracts, and the breath flows into the lungs. The diaphragm is a small muscle below your lungs. Its contractions expand the lungs to take in the fresh air.

To practice diaphragmatic breathing, try placing one hand over your heart and the other over the area below your lungs. First, breathe in through the nose and feel the lungs expand. Then breathe out through the mouth as if you were blowing out a birthday candle in front of you. This technique can help you slow your heart rate and lessen distressing symptoms of mental health disorders or stress.

Deep breathing can also be combined with rhythmic breathing techniques. For example, you can breathe in for a count of four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale for eight seconds. This is known as the 4-7-8 deep breathing technique. It can also help you manage difficult symptoms and help you become more grounded and focused.

No matter which technique you practice, repeat it for 5 to 10 minutes to experience results.

Benefits of Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing is a passive form of exercise for the body. Practicing breathwork can heal the brain, boost mood, and stabilize mental health. The muscle tension you feel when you are under stress — whether from work, family obligations, recovery from mental illness or substance abuse, or something else — can be reversed when you give your body more oxygen. People who practice deep breathing may also gain more self-confidence.

Deep breathing is a natural detoxification method for the body and brain, and you should take full advantage of this critical coping skill and effective self-care technique. There are so many benefits to breathwork. Here are the top five benefits of using deep breathing as a coping tool:

Benefit #1. Calming the Nervous System

For thousands of years, many spiritual masters have focused on the power of deep breathing. It is powerful because breathwork activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This system helps conserve energy and drive passive body functions like digestion. 

At the same time, deep breathing activates the vagus nerve, which regulates mood and heart rate. By sending more oxygen to the brain and other organs, breathwork can be energizing for your body and soothing for your mind. 

Benefit #2. Coping With High-Stress Situations

Many people intuitively engage in deep breathing when confronted with high-stress situations. However, you do not need to wait for a crisis or high-stress situation to arise before you practice deep breathing. Cultivating a habit of daily intentional breathwork can prepare your body and mind to handle these moments better.

If you are already an expert at deep breathing, then you know what a valuable resource it is when dealing with stressful life events. So when you know high-stress situations may be on the horizon, such as dealing with difficult relationships, \you can prepare yourself by practicing breathwork. 

Benefit #3. Improving Sleep Quality

Because deep breathing improves the mind-body connection, it can also help with sleep patterns. If you are like many people in addiction recovery who have insomnia or sleep disruptions, try building deep breathing techniques into your daily routine. Both deep breathing and good sleep facilitate the brain’s natural detox state. These functions can work together to reinforce progress in recovery.

Benefit #4. Easing Depression and Emotional Disturbance

After you practice deep breathing for a while, you may experience positive effects on your mood and emotions. Even for people whose addiction has roots in trauma, deep breathing can help focus the mind and ease emotional disturbance. 

When you reinforce different types of breathing techniques, your body starts to regulate emotions more effectively. If you are experiencing depression while going through addiction recovery, deep breathing can help you get some relief from depressive moods.

Benefit #5. Strengthening the Immune System

When you have a history of substance addiction, your immune system suffers. Your nervous system, the fight or flight response center, is connected to immune system functionality. When the nervous system is flooded with artificial substances, it may cause inflammation in the body and critical organs. This can cause any number of other health concerns.

Deep breathing can ease your nervous system and strengthen your immune system. When your internal stress level is down, your immune system can be strengthened. 

When you are in recovery, you must learn effective stress management and self-care techniques. Breathwork is simple but has a lot of potential to become a natural detox technique. If you do not know where to begin, you may need to work with a team of recovery experts. Laguna Shores Recovery helps you become an expert in self-care methods. Here, you will find that our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of positive support networks. Whether you need to distance yourself from unhealthy habits or relearn self-care methods for success, we can help. We integrate clinical and holistic healing methods—call (866) 774-1532 to join a community of self-care experts.