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(p. 117) Breathing Retraining 

(p. 117) Breathing Retraining
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date: 16 January 2021

What are the benefits of using Breathing Retraining?

  • By slowing down my breathing, I can feel calmer.

  • By focusing on just one word, I can clear my head of upsetting thoughts, which can help me think more clearly.

  • If I practice regularly, I can use it to quickly calm myself down when I am feeling anxious, or when I am experiencing a craving or urge to use alcohol or drugs.

How to do the Breathing Retraining technique:

  • Step 1: Get in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

  • Step 2: Breathe in normally through your nose, and hold it for 3 seconds.

  • Step 3: Exhale out slowly and smoothly through your mouth.

The key to this technique is exhaling all of the air out of your lungs very slowly. You may want to say a word, such as “CALM” or “RELAX” or “PEACE,” in your mind while doing the exercise. This will help you stay focused and centered.

Concentrate on taking breaths right down to your stomach, or “belly breathing.” To help you do this, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. If you are doing the exercise correctly, only the hand on your stomach will rise and fall as you inhale and exhale.

How to Practice:

  • Set aside three times each day to practice.

  • Practice the breathing retraining for at least 5–10 minutes each time.