The MHS Journals

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What Is Mindful Breathing? Exercises, Scripts & More

Apr 27, 2023

Mental and emotional struggles can be daunting, but breathing meditation scripts can offer a powerful and effective solution. Research shows that mindfulness breathing and guided meditation scripts can help individuals improve breath awareness and cultivate greater health and wellness. Anyone can access this technique and use it as a valuable tool to settle and focus their mind. Whether you are an experienced practitioner or just starting, breathing meditation can be explored in-depth to achieve a greater sense of calm and peace.

At Mental Health Systems, we recognize the importance of incorporating mindfulness practices into our evidence-based dialectical behavior and behavioral health therapy programs to support individuals on their journey toward long-term recovery.

What is Mindful Breathing?

Mindful breathing is meditation focused on your breathing and involves paying attention to the physical sensations of breathing to cultivate a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. This could be like monitoring your chest as it rises and falls with each breath or the sensation of air moving through your nostrils.

We recognize the importance of incorporating mindful breathing into addiction recovery programs. Addiction recovery can be a challenging journey, but mindfulness practices can provide you with the tools needed to manage cravings, cope with triggers, and maintain a sense of emotional balance. By training your mind to focus on the present moment, you can develop better self-awareness and learn to approach challenges with more clarity.

Research shows that practicing mindful breathing can provide physical and mental health benefits, like reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, while potentially improving attention, memory, and cognitive flexibility.

Getting Through the 11th Step

Mindful breathing meditation and exercises are powerful tools for individuals in substance abuse recovery and are the primary function of the 11th step in the 12-step program.

The 11th step of the program involves practicing prayer and meditation to improve conscious contact with a higher power for knowledge of its will for us and the power to carry that out. Practicing mindful breathing meditation in recovery provides individuals with a connection to their higher power, as well as develops greater self-awareness and self-regulation habits.

Incorporating mindfulness practices like breathing exercises into a daily routine can help individuals in recovery develop greater resilience and coping skills to maintain their sobriety and improve their overall well-being, managing their cravings and triggers. Practicing mindfulness regularly can also help individuals in recovery develop an improved sense of purpose and meaning, increasing chances of achieving long-term recovery and sobriety.

Benefits of Mindful Breathing for Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery is a complex and challenging process, but mindful breathing can provide individuals with an effective tool to support their journey toward long-term recovery. By focusing on the present moment and cultivating greater self-awareness, individuals can learn to manage cravings, cope with triggers, and reduce the risk of relapse.

Here are some of the specific benefits of mindful breathing for addiction recovery:

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Addiction recovery can be a stressful and anxiety-provoking process. Mindful breathing can help individuals reduce stress and anxiety by calming the mind and body. By focusing on breathing, individuals can learn to regulate their emotions and approach challenges more calmly.

Improving Emotional Regulation

Addiction recovery can be an emotional rollercoaster, with individuals experiencing intense feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration. Mindful breathing can help individuals regulate their emotions by providing a tool to calm the mind and body. Individuals can develop greater emotional resilience and stability by learning to observe their thoughts and emotions without judgment.

Enhancing Self-Awareness

Addiction can often lead to a sense of disconnection from oneself and others. Mindful breathing can help individuals develop greater self-awareness by training the mind to focus on the present moment. By becoming more attuned to their thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, individuals can develop a greater sense of self-understanding and self-acceptance.

Craving Management

Mindful breathing can also be a valuable tool for managing cravings. By learning to observe cravings without judgment or reactivity, individuals can develop greater self-control and reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Improved Cognitive Function

Research has shown that mindfulness practices can improve cognitive function, including attention, memory, and decision-making. These benefits can be especially valuable for individuals in addiction recovery who may be dealing with cognitive impairments due to substance use.

Mindful Breathing Exercises

If you are struggling with addiction, incorporating mindful breathing exercises into your daily routine can provide a powerful tool for supporting your recovery. Here are some practical exercises and breathing scripts to get started:

Box Breathing

This technique involves inhaling for four counts, holding the breath for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and holding the breath for four counts. Repeat for several rounds, gradually increasing the duration of each count as you feel comfortable.

Body Scan

This exercise involves focusing on each part of the body, from the toes to the top of the head, and observing any sensations or discomfort without judgment. This can help individuals develop greater body awareness and reduce tension and stress.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

This technique focuses on sending love and positive energy to oneself and others. This can help individuals develop greater self-compassion and empathy towards others, benefiting addiction recovery.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

This exercise involves breathing deeply into the diaphragm, expanding the belly on the inhale, and contracting on the exhale. This can help individuals regulate their breathing and reduce stress and anxiety.

It’s important to remember that mindful breathing is a practice, and it may take time and patience to develop a consistent routine. By incorporating these exercises and breathing scripts into your daily routine, you can start to experience the benefits of mindful breathing for addiction recovery.

At Mental Health Systems, we offer a range of evidence-based therapy services and programs, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, that can help individuals struggling with addiction and mental health challenges. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your journey toward long-term recovery.

Relaxation Breathing Script for Pain in Addiction Recovery

Research has shown that chronic pain sufferers often experience anxiety as well, with up to 50% of individuals meeting the diagnostic criteria for anxiety according to the DSM-IV-TR. This can be attributed to the circular relationship between pain and anxiety, where pain can lead to stress and muscle tension, which in turn causes more pain. Therefore, it is crucial to incorporate relaxation techniques to help manage anxiety and release tension in the body. Below is an example of a relaxation script, but it’s important to note that you can adjust the script to suit your needs by being mindful of your body’s signals.

  1. Begin by finding a comfortable position where you can rest your body. You may close your eyes or keep them open, but find a fixed focal point in the room to look at.
  2. Ground your awareness into your body by feeling your feet firmly meeting the floor and your back supporting you in your chair.
  3. Slowly bring your attention to your breath and notice the patterns of your breathing- inhalation, pause, and exhalation. Observe the rise and fall of your belly or chest as you are breathing. If you notice that you are breathing from the chest, work to slow your breathing down with slower and deeper breaths from your diaphragm.
  4. Allow for a few more rotations of this breath pattern, going deeper and deeper into your core. Aim to target a slower and more soothing breath by counting with intervals of 4 seconds.
  5. Inhale for 2, 3, 4. Pause for 2, 3, and 4. Exhale for 2, 3, 4. Repeat for a few more rotations.
  6. If distractions pop up in your mind, identify them as just thoughts and redirect your attention to your breathing.
  7. Continue this breathing exercise until you have found a natural rhythm of inhalations and exhalations that work for your body today. Consider the idea of releasing tension with your exhalation as you expand into meditation with the breath.
  8. Inhale calmly for 2, 3, 4. Pause for 2, 3, and 4. Exhale tension for 2, 3, 4. Inhale calmly for 2, 3, 4. Pause for 2, 3, and 4. Exhale tension for 2, 3, 4. Imagine your body slowly releasing all of the built-up tension.
  9. Work through your muscle groups, and observe the experience of feeling lighter in your muscles as you work to cleanse your body of the tension.
  10. Continue this process for as long as you find it meaningful for you. When you are ready, begin the process of orienting yourself back to your surroundings. Feel your back against the chair, your legs against the chair, and your feet resting on the ground.
  11. When you are ready, you may start to shift your body and prepare to move on to the next part of your day. Remember that you can return to this place to ground yourself and release tension in your body at any time you choose.

Tips for Incorporating Mindful Breathing into Daily Life

Mindful breathing meditation can be a powerful tool for reducing stress, improving focus, and increasing well-being. Here are some tips to help you get started with this practice:

Start with small moments: Incorporating mindfulness into your daily life can initially feel overwhelming. Begin with small moments, such as taking three mindful breaths before you start your day or before a meal.

Use reminders: Set reminders on your phone or computer throughout the day to pause and take a few deep, mindful breaths. You can also use everyday cues, such as stop signs or red lights, to remind you to take a few deep breaths.

Focus on the present: When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to focus on your breath. Notice the sensation of air moving in and out of your body. Focusing on the present moment can help alleviate stress and anxiety.

Integrate mindful breathing into activities: Incorporate mindful breathing into your daily activities, such as while walking or doing the dishes. Pay attention to your breath and your surroundings in the present moment.

Be kind to yourself: Remember that incorporating mindfulness into your daily life is a journey that takes time and practice. Be easy on yourself if you forget or struggle to stay present. Simply acknowledge it and try again.

Set realistic goals: Set realistic goals for incorporating mindful breathing into your daily routine. Start small, and gradually increase the time you spend practicing mindfulness.

Find a community: Consider joining a meditation or mindfulness group to connect with others who share your interest in incorporating mindfulness into daily life. You can also find online resources and apps that offer guided meditation and breathing exercises.

Embrace Mindful Breathing & Meditation as a Daily Practice in Your Recovery

Taking just a few minutes daily to focus on your breath can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and increase your overall sense of calm and relaxation. Start small, and gradually work your way up to longer periods of meditation. Remember – the power to reduce stress and improve your well-being is within you; it all starts with your breath.

Take the next step towards recovery and explore Mental Health System’s specialized services for addiction recovery, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Behavioral Health Therapy programs. Our team of experts is dedicated to supporting your journey toward mental wellness and a fulfilling life. Contact us today to learn more about your road to long-term recovery.