Practicing mindfulness while in recovery can help you relax and bring your focus to the present moment. Staying present can help you deal with cravings or overwhelming emotions so that you can use your feelings and thoughts as a tool for recovery.
Benefits of Mindfulness
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), mindfulness can change the brain in positive ways that improve a person’s mental and physical health. Mindfulness can be used to help with problems such as pain, depression, smoking, and addiction.
Religions such as Buddhism focus on mindfulness as a way to reduce stress. In addiction recovery, being mindful helps you focus on the present rather than on what happened in the past or what might happen in the future. This fosters a feeling of peace and calm.
Mindfulness has many benefits. It can:
- Improve memory and concentration
- Calm your mind
- Aid in regulating emotional responses
- Strengthen relationships
- Decrease negative thoughts and feelings of depression
- Lower levels of stress
- Improve emotional and physical well-being
Ways to Practice Mindfulness in Recovery
There are many simple yet effective ways to practice mindfulness in recovery. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and improve your mental clarity. Some tips to use that can help you be mindful are:
- Sit and be quiet. Sometimes just sitting quietly and observing your thoughts can help calm your mind and keep you centered. You do not need to always be active or doing something. In fact, we often use activity to avoid thoughts instead of processing them.
- Focus on breathing. If you feel overwhelmed, focusing on your breathing can help you regain control of the situation. Pay attention to your breath and how your lungs feel as they fill up with air and expand. Notice how your stomach rises and falls with each breath. This breathing technique can be used when you have cravings and need to focus on something else.
- Keep a journal. Writing in a journal can be therapeutic and keep you mindful of your thoughts. Set time in the morning or at the end of each day to write down your thoughts and feelings. Over time, you’ll be able to track what kinds of experiences trigger certain thoughts and emotions.
- Go outdoors. Spending time outdoors in nature is a great way to practice mindfulness. Slow down. Look at your surroundings. Notice how the air feels and smells, notice how the sounds change from moment to moment. Instead of judging what you see, smell, hear, taste, or feel, just notice and be with it.
- Spend time with your pet. Spending time with a pet can give you a new perspective on life. Pets don’t worry about the past or future; they enjoy what they are doing at any given moment. Play a game of tug-o-war or fetch with your dog, or volunteer at a local shelter. Pet your cat, noticing how their fur feels on your hand. Watch how your fish moves when it swims.
- Practice yoga. Yoga not only strengthens the body but can help promote mindfulness. Poses require focus and breath to sustain, bringing you to the present moment. Yoga can be done alone at home or as a class with others.
- Unplug your devices. You cannot focus on the present moment if you are always checking your emails or text messages. Unplugging your devices can give you a much-needed break and time to focus on the moment.
Mindfulness does not come naturally for most people. It takes time and practice. Making mindfulness a part of your daily routine can be an essential tool in your recovery from addiction.
We Can Help
If you are looking for a recovery center that offers holistic therapy as part of their programming, contact Mountain Laurel Recovery Center for more information. Holistic therapy is used to promote mindfulness while focusing on a healthy, sober lifestyle.