Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises are one of the most powerful tools you will have in your "arsenal" to quit smoking. The beauty of this tool is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, without any one knowing it.
When it comes to breathing, most of the time we never even think about it. We let our bodies do the work unconsciously. Often stress causes us to breathe more shallow (chest breathing) and more rapid. This in turn increases our stress level. Deep breathing, all on its' own, has been shown to eliminate all physiological symptoms of stress. This is truly profound! Most people who have smoked are actually naturals at breathing deeply. They've been practicing with each long deep inhale of a cigarette. Now it's time to use this exercise in a more healthy way.
This exercise can be done while breathing only through the nose (inhale and exhale). However, some people prefer to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Try each version to see which you prefer.
- On an inhalation (4-6 seconds), bring your breath deep into the lungs. Imagine filling them with air like pouring water from a pitcher into a glass, from the bottom first. First the belly expands, then the ribs, and finally the chest area.
- Exhale and let everything go while emptying the lungs (4-6 seconds).
- Repeat ten times.
While first learning this exercise, you may find it helpful to lie on your back and place your hand(s) on your belly. Feel your hands rise and fall with each breath. Most of us are "chest breathers" regularly, so it may take some practice learning how to breathe deep into your abdomen.
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