Addiction doesn’t always involve substance abuse. Sometimes, people become addicted to self-defeating and risky behaviors, like gambling, shopping, or over-eating. This type of addiction is called “process addiction.” These behaviors are often developed during early childhood as a way of coping with trauma, fear, or a negative belief structure. When dealing with a process addiction, one needs to develop the awareness to be able to examine your behaviors and facilitate change. Practicing mindfulness can help us develop a focused self-awareness that can benefit not just our recovery, but many aspects of our lives
Meditation to Gain Self-Awareness
Mindfulness practice comes in many forms. Each of them can help us become aware of our thoughts and emotional responses to them.
The most common mindfulness technique used for process addiction is meditation. Participants are told to focus on their breathing first, then urged to consider their thoughts and what emotions arise from them. This exercise allows the person meditating to turn off “auto-pilot” and recognize an emotion without responding to it.
The therapist then has the opportunity to help the participant recognize that their thoughts are not necessarily an accurate reflection of reality. People tend to believe that their beliefs are true. Meditation allows the participant to become a detached and non-judgmental observer of their own feelings. Accepting our emotions and thoughts gives us the clarity to determine we do not need to react to them. There is no longer a need to avoid these thoughts and emotions by engaging in risky or self-defeating behavior.
Allow Yourself Some Compassion
As always, it’s important to view yourself through a compassionate lens. Use positive affirmations and learn to forgive yourself. Holding on to old perspectives can prevent you from moving forward. Offering yourself compassion also helps with relapse prevention. It helps cultivate the motivation to live a healthier lifestyle and abandon old self-defeating habits. Remember, it’s not selfish to put your recovery first. Maintaining your recovery is essential to your survival and to living a fulfilling life.
Dealing with a process addiction can be frightening and isolating. These behaviors become so ingrained in our everyday lives, that we almost feel lost without them. A mindfulness practice can help you process the emotions that trigger your process addiction. At Avalon Malibu, we have experts who can help you identify these processes, free yourself from their bounds, while also providing you with the emotional support you may need. We offer a wide variety of treatment options in an effort to provide each person with a personalized rehabilitation experience designed to meet their unique needs. Located on the breathtaking shores of Malibu, California, our facility is staffed with a dedicated team of mental health professionals that can equip you with the right tools to cope with daily stresses that you can use within and outside the facility. If you or someone you love may be suffering from a process addiction, please call us at (844) 857-5992.