03 Aug 5 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness in Addiction Recovery
New ideas and treatments for addiction recovery are being used all the time. Studies and research into effective treatments can make addiction recovery more successful and easier for those taking part in it. Everyone has a unique experience with both the treatment of addiction and recovery from addiction. However, many people also go through similar paths on the recovery road. Finding out what works best for you in recovery is part of your individual journey. Mindfulness practices are a common tool to help people during the recovery process. Physical withdrawal symptoms and distress are common during recovery, but emotional and mental withdrawal symptoms can be even harder to deal with. People struggling with addiction typically used drugs or alcohol to cope with stressful situations and mental hardship. During recovery, the goal is to find healthy ways to cope. This is where mindfulness comes in.
Being mindful means being actively aware of your own feelings in the present. It means being objective and neutral and observing your feelings without judging them. Another description of mindfulness is living in the moment. In order to be mindful in recovery, you need to consider these steps:
• Conscious and purposeful effort to recognize your situation and feelings
• Accepting the feelings as they are
• Allowing yourself to emote without judging or criticizing
For people in recovery, mindfulness can help them regulate their emotions and thoughts in a healthier way. Mindfulness reminds you to be aware of situations that trigger you and may cause you to drift towards relapse.
Mindfulness is actually an ancient discipline, which was first introduced in Buddhism. It’s meant to create a greater awareness of your own self and the world around you. Mindfulness practices can reshape your brain and promote a positive outlook on yourself and the world around you.
How Does Mindfulness Help Recovery?
Mindfulness offers a number of health benefits for those in recovery from addiction and just in general. One mindfulness benefit is better management of stress. Stress is often caused by being anxious about the future. If you focus on the present during recovery, the future becomes less important. Stress exacerbates several health problems, so reducing stress in any application is positive.
Mindfulness also promotes better self-awareness. If you’re mindful, you’re also likely in tune with your body. Mindfulness enables you to recognize when something isn’t right with your physical health.
Being mindful increases the function of your immune system. Stress negatively affects your immune system. Mindfulness can also reduce your stress, thus helping your immune system.
Mindfulness practices help you understand your emotions and thoughts. This is one of the biggest benefits for people in recovery. Instead of letting your emotions and thoughts control and consume you, your improved awareness through mindful meditation can help you make better decisions. You can let go of negative thoughts more easily and focus on the positive thoughts that help your recovery.
How To Get Started With Mindfulness In Recovery
One of the great aspects of mindfulness is that you can do it anywhere at any time. However, it’s a good idea to spend time in formal practice of mindfulness until you get the hang of it. Once you do, it can definitely be practiced anywhere. Let’s take a look at five key tips for mindfulness meditation in recovery.
1. Focus On The Present
This is also known as being present. You might wonder if it’s possible to be somewhere else without being there physically, and the answer is that it’s definitely possible. Many people engage in what they think is multi-tasking. For example, watching TV while talking to someone on the phone. Is your mind really in the present while doing either activity? Focusing on the present moment means exactly that.
How does this help recovery? Remember that people struggling with addiction previously used drugs and alcohol to escape from the present moment. Focusing on the present and not escaping is very important in recovery because it teaches coping and not escaping.
How can you focus on the present? Pay attention to normal things as you’re doing them. For example, the taste of whatever you’re drinking, the feeling of your feet on a surface as you walk, or the sounds of birds chirping as you wake up in the morning.
2. Focus On Breathing
Stress is everywhere. It might be the news, anxiety over the future, talking to someone difficult or many other things. It can be overwhelming and cause you to start looking for an escape. The mindfulness response is to focus on your breathing. You can control your breathing by pausing it, or taking a deep breath or exhaling loudly.
How does this help recovery? It helps restore a feeling of control and calm, which is important when you’re trying to avoid damaging thoughts and emotions.
Start this mindfulness task by taking breathing breaks during the day where you breathe in through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth. Focus on the feeling of the breath entering and leaving your body.
3. See Your Thoughts As They Are
People often think that their thoughts are just background noise and believe that they’re largely tuning them out. However, you may not realize that your thoughts drive your emotions and actions. How you think of yourself and other people determines your actions and interactions. Believing your negative thoughts can be a driving force behind negative actions.
How does seeing your thoughts support recovery? Mindfulness teaches you to recognize damaging thoughts and not to believe them. Start by taking a look at your thoughts at different points during the day. Do this especially when you start feeling depressed or anxious.
4. Find a Moment to Be Still
It’s common practice to equate being busy with being productive and doing something positive. You may feel like the more you do, the more successful your day or week is. However, part of mindfulness is finding a moment to be still. Remember that recovery is not a destination but a journey. Exercise this mindfulness task through meditation, yoga, observing the night sky or watching waves on the ocean. Any moment that belongs to you only.
5. Build Compassionate Connections
Connecting with others in recovery is extremely important. Mindfulness in connecting means viewing others with compassion and letting go of judgments and stereotypes. Tolerance and empathy builds bridges, which leads to connections. Addiction likely limited your ability to connect with others. Using compassion in connecting with others during recovery will help you build solid and healthy relationships.
Mindfulness In Addiction Treatment
At New Method Wellness, we support our clients during treatment and recovery through a variety of therapies and treatments. Incorporating new ideas and methods into addiction treatment helps support clients in their unique journey towards recovery.
To find out more about mindfulness in recovery, contact New Method Wellness today at 866.951.1824