DEEP BREATHING EXERCISE (The University of Arizona)
Arizona Health Sciences Center

Deep breathing is a key relaxation skill for new non-smokers. When you smoked, if you inhaled deeply, you probably were breathing in a way which actually promoted relaxation. People who stop smoking often forget to continue such deep breathing and therefore experience increased tension. This exercise will show you how to breathe without cigarettes in a way which slows down the pace of your whole body and therefore promotes general relaxation.

Correct deep breathing should be done with your belly muscles. The idea is to let your stomach go out as far as possible as you inhale. In this way you will fill your lungs more completely. Put a hand on your abdomen and, as you inhale deeply, feel your stomach expand as though it were being filled like a balloon. Now let the air out and feel your stomach return to its normal position. As you do the exercise, pause comfortably at the end of each exhalation until you feel ready to take the next deep breath. You can achieve even greater relaxation if you close your eyes during deep breathing and let your mind focus on a restful scene or a word like calm or anything else which gives you a peaceful feeling.

Keeping your eyes closed, breathe in deeply, let your stomach expand until your lungs are filled. Now pause for a moment and then exhale until you have emptied your lungs. Pause for a moment. Take another deep breath in, filling your lungs from the bottom. Hold a moment...and now let the air flow out, focusing your mind on restful thoughts. Keeping the pace regular, again breathe in deeply...hold a moment...and now let the air out, feeling more and more relaxed. Take another breath in...hold it for a moment...now gently breathe out, letting the tension escape from your body. Once more breathe in...pause a moment...now exhale, feeling deep relaxation. This ends the exercise.