Why is Mindfulness Beneficial For Recovery
Most of us live our lives on auto-pilot. This is especially true during difficult times. We often do the same things over and over again because they worked in the past. It is easier than trying something new that you are unsure of. You worry that you may fail so it is easier to simply not try. We also tend to find ourselves thinking about every time except now. As we act on autopilot, our brains are thinking about what has happened in the past. We may be reliving a past event that angered or hurt us or find ourselves rewriting conversations that didn’t quite go the way we wanted. At other times our minds are worrying about the future. Will we do well in this situation? How will we deal with that situation? Often we worry about things that never end up occurring. Practicing mindfulness can help you add more meaning to all the present moments and keep you living in the now, not the past or the future.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply the act of being present at this very moment. You are in complete awareness of everything you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing at only this very moment. At the same time, you are also somewhat detached in that you are not judging your thoughts or actions.
Benefits of Mindfulness
How can practicing mindfulness benefit you? Here are some of the top ways.
A. Less Stress – If you are not caught up in frustration about how things went that you can no longer change or worried about how things will turn out, you feel less stressed. You eliminate the self-blame and negative reactions to the past. The future is beyond your control in many ways so allowing yourself to deal with it when it becomes the now frees you from the stress of worrying about what might not ever happen.
B. Reduced Anxiety – Lack of control or the inability to change things results in increased anxiety. The mind can only deal with so much at one time. If it is filled with worry, self-doubt, and other negative emotions, there is no room for positive emotions or coping mechanisms to find room.
C. Awareness – When you are totally aware in the present moment, you notice things you may not otherwise be aware of. This allows you to see pleasures that have gotten overlooked. You see the good that can be found and the pleasure that is all around you. You feel the gentleness of a spring breeze as it blows the sleep from your mind. You smell the flowers or experience the unabandoned joy of your dog playing.
D. Control – By being aware of what you are thinking and feeling, you have control of how you react. If you feel anger you can note the feeling and slow down enough to ask yourself if the anger is necessary or if you need to act upon it. Instead of reacting immediately, you give yourself the control that you have previously tossed aside.
How Mindfulness Helps in Addiction Recovery
So, how does this apply to the process of addiction recovery?
A. Awareness of Triggers – By being aware of what you are feeling and thinking at this exact moment, you can learn to pinpoint the triggers that previously resulted in substance abuse. By recognizing these triggers, you are able to then gain control and use some of the other tools you have learned to get through this crucial moment.
B. Management of Emotions – By being aware of what you are feeling, you have the ability to put aside negative emotions that can lead to a backslide. You recognize the emotion and then let it go. Accept it for what it is – simply a thought. You are now in control of deciding how you want to handle that emotion.
C. Act With Purpose – As you become more experienced with the practice of mindfulness, you gain the ability to act with purpose. You become aware of how everything you put into your body makes your body feel. You become aware of what emotions you feel. Your body and mind will let you know when something isn’t right for you and you can choose alternatives more easily.
Here at Lake Hughes Recovery, we understand the great benefit mindfulness can add to recovery success. As part of your addiction treatment, you will be able to experience the benefits of mindfulness as you work on other methods that will help you continue your healing journey successfully. It is one of the many tools we offer you to help with your healing journey. Don’t allow substance abuse to control your life even one more day. Reach out to our knowledgeable, caring staff now and let us help you get started on the road to recovery.