Addiction takes a person away from embracing the present moment. When addiction is present, it becomes much easier for a person to go on this endless chase of substance abuse, losing sight of close connections, financial health status, physical health status, career aspirations, goal setting, hobby exploration and more. Thoughts become centered around using than about anything else, and with that, a person’s priorities change. Hobbies, friends, family, work projects and more can all fade away as addiction takes over, and recovery is all about bringing these things back.
Meditation dates back to the early teachings of Buddha, but meditation and mindfulness have become extremely popular in America as more people are realizing how great it is. Mindfulness is about cultivating a non-judgmental awareness from moment-to-moment. When we practice mindfulness, we become stronger in grounding ourselves despite challenging human moments such as distress; we’re more likely to handle life’s circumstances in better ways because we’re more understanding of what it means to be human in this life.
Those who don’t practice mindfulness tend to experience a lot of anxiety. If a situation occurs, for example, a person could either accept that situation and take the best course of action, or they could ruminate and allow all of these thoughts to come flooding in, affecting their emotions and the rest of their day.
Using mindfulness, a person might realize that the thoughts they’re having are just thoughts – there’s nothing special that’s needed, and those thoughts don’t need to be all-consuming. In fact, thoughts can freely come and go, with the person exploring them as to learn more about themselves and less to determine that every thought had needed an appropriate action. When mindfulness is present, daily life becomes much easier to deal with.
From then on, people can continue practicing mindfulness to help them navigate daily life. You see, what mindfulness is based on is the fact that our thoughts are only important if we place importance on them. Thoughts are merely thoughts – they are not good, nor bad. We assign meaning to them, and so it’s up to us to determine what we want to give importance to – and what we don’t want to.
Mindfulness tackles two main aspects of addiction recovery: negative emotions and cravings. Both negative emotions and cravings can cause a person to relapse, and mindfulness combats both of these risky aspects of addiction and recovery by grounding a person and providing them with the clarity they need to make informed decisions.
Previous studies have explored mindfulness and its benefits for those in addiction recovery, and they found that people who practice mindfulness often experience fewer cravings throughout treatment – in addition to placing less emphasis on the daily moments of pressure that can arise around substance abuse. Additionally, mindfulness can reduce heart rate responses to cues like negative emotions, commercials, and more that may quickly remind a person of using substances.
Mindfulness helps not only in treatment but afterward, too.
Other scientific studies have explored mindfulness and have found that even after treatment, those who continued to practice mindfulness found lower rates of relapse than those who didn’t – and people who practice mindfulness after treatment has been completed also tend to drink less than those who don’t.
Mindfulness is an excellent approach to treatment because it places more control in a person’s hands to de-escalate some of the thoughts that may be triggering them in the first place.
The best part of mindfulness is that it can be practiced virtually anytime, anywhere. Formalized treatment programs that offer mindfulness-based therapy will certainly have structure, but you can apply mindfulness in your daily life, too. If you’re ready to try mindfulness, give yourself time to breathe and look around you the next time you go outside for a walk. Notice the birds chirping, the steps beneath your feet, the inhales and exhales that you’re taking. Check-in with yourself mentally and see how you’re feeling. Pique your curiosity and take a look at all of the colors around you – the sky, the grass, the buildings, whatever you see. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but it’s supposed to help ground you to your present experience. If you notice any thoughts arising, don’t try to push them away – just let them come and go.
If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu. The time to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit is now – and mindfulness can truly become an essential component to your health and wellness that impacts you, for the better, for the rest of your life.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.