“Be kind whenever possible,” the Dalai Lama famously said, “It is always possible.” Kindness in recovery is an essential practice. Few things are more cruel than addiction and alcoholism or the symptoms of unmanaged mental health disorders. Recovery takes tolerance, patience, and kindness to be effective.
Make Kindness A Mindfulness Based Practice
The brain is pre wired for negativity. Though the brain thoroughly enjoys pleasure and reward, it seems, according to numerous neural studies, to gain significant pleasure and reward from negativity. Have you ever noticed how, once you dip even a toe into negative thinking, everything can turn dark quite quickly? We are prone to notice the negative before the positive. Thus, we have to become mindful of the positive.
Making kindness a mindfulness based practice means setting the intention to notice more kindness around. There are probably thousands of acts of kindness happening around you all the time which you simply aren’t paying attention it. Like other mindfulness practices, just try to become aware of what’s going on around you. Meditation is a great way to enhance mindfulness, especially with a specific intention for kindness.
Create A Kindness Based Value System
Being kind is not a priority for most people. Kindness is a luxury for people who have time and ability to care about more than themselves. The truth is, everyone is capable of kindness in some way. However, it has to be of value. Unless we value something it is difficult for us to care about it. One of the unique parts of the recovery process is redefining your values. Create a kindness based value system for yourself where being kind toward yourself and others is something you place great emphasis on.
Lastly, the most effective way to practice kindness in recovery is to, in the words of Nike, just do it. Kindness doesn’t have to be practiced through grand gestures by any means. Saying “please” and “thank you” or holding the door open for someone are acts of kindness. A catch does exist– being kind towards others requires you to be kind toward yourself. Self-kindness is an awkward practice at first because we are often unaware of how unkind we actually are towards ourselves. Using the two methods above, integrate self-kindness into your recovery and daily routine. Watch what kind of negative thinking you put upon yourself, ways you might try to punish or self-sabotage, and how you neglect attending to your needs.
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