When you quit smoking, it can be a liberating feeling to break the addiction. However, dealing with the habits associated with smoking, such as lighting up after a meal or having a few puffs when stressed out, can be just as hard to break. Breathing exercises can help your break the habits, relieve the nicotine cravings and improve your lung function.
Belly Breathing Feels Better
One way to get used to not smoking is to practice deep breathing. This practice requires that you first notice your breath. While sitting in a quiet place, sit tall and breathe in deeply, allowing your belly to expand as your lungs fill with air. Pay attention to your diaphragm as it moves up and down with your breathing. Notice how you must push the air from your lungs as you exhale. Continue this breathing slowly and deeply. Make it a part of your daily routine and practice breathing whenever you feel stressed.
Do Hold Your Breath
Another exercise you can do to make the aftermath of quitting smoking easier is to hold your breath. This can be done as a part of your deep-breathing exercises. To start, inhale and exhale to a count of 6. Maintain a steady and even rhythm. Once you're ready, after an inhale, hold your breath when your lungs are their fullest. Hold for a count of 3, then exhale. Pause for another count of 3 before inhaling again.
Open Your Mouth and Say "Ah"
Pranayama is a yoga exercise that includes belly breathing in with a forced exhale. Begin by belly breathing in through your nose. When your lungs are full of air, open your mouth slightly and exhale with an "ah" sound. This can increase your lung capacity and allow you to take deeper, fuller breaths that will make you feel better after quitting smoking. Keep your thoughts focused on your breath.
Breathe the Bad Out and the Good In
Smoking causes many physiological problems, along with behavioral habits. Practice deep breathing after every meal -- when you are likely to crave a smoke. Do deep-breathing exercises again before you go to bed or at any time craving strikes. By quitting smoking and engaging in health-promoting activities such as deep-breathing, you can lose your hacking smoker's cough and shortness of breath. You become healthier as toxins are released from your body, and you are less subject to serious health conditions, such as heart attacks and emphysema.