Addiction treatment approaches include detoxification, psychotherapy, counseling, and support groups. However, mindfulness, which holds a lot of prospects for recovery, is often ignored by many people living with addiction today. To some, the word “mindfulness” brings thoughts of ancient Eastern practices that have no implications for addiction recovery. A research trial found that mindfulness was associated with long-term positive outcomes in persons with alcohol dependence. Many people with addiction experience overwhelming emotional distress that can be addressed with healthy, mindful practices. Thus, the role of mindfulness in recovery, though often neglected, is a gold mine that can help address the peculiar challenges that most people experience and help build resilience to prevent a relapse.
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Mindfulness began among Buddhists and originated from Eastern philosophies. It only became common in the Western world in the 1950s and was only used in mental health treatment decades later. So, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is classically defined as the awareness one gets from deliberately paying attention to the present moment non-judgmentally. Mindfulness is also the art of consciously being present in one’s life and opening one’s mind to a more profound understanding of oneself and the world. It also involves shutting out forms of distractions and focusing one’s attention on the moment. Our minds work amazingly fast, and living without being present in the moment is very easy. Mindful living allows us to slow down and experience the moment, processing impulses and feelings more optimally.
There are several ways mindfulness helps a person living with addiction to maintain sobriety and wholesome health; here are some common benefits.
Mindfulness Helps with Cravings
People living with addiction experience a constant urge to take the addictive substance because the brain has been ‘rewired’ to continue in a loop created by the reward system. For most people, it happens almost automatically without much thought. Mindful living can help one pay more attention to the intrusive thoughts perpetuating addiction behaviors. Mindfulness allows you to process and respond to these thoughts healthily when you identify them. This is arguably the most important benefit of mindfulness in recovery.
Mindfulness Helps with Stress Management
Another reason why people treating addiction often struggle to maintain sobriety and experience relapse is stress. Mindfulness can also help deal with stress, shun distractions and stressors, and help achieve a more stable emotional and psychological well-being. This key benefit of mindfulness in recovery allows for more resilience in dealing with addiction and ultimately helps make healthier choices.
Mindfulness Helps with Emotion Regulation
Living with addiction takes its toll on the emotions, too. Unfortunately, instability and poor emotional well-being can cause relapse in persons with addiction. Mindful living can help achieve a more balanced emotional health and psychological well-being.
Mindfulness Helps to Identify Triggers
Another meaningful way that mindful living helps persons with addiction is by helping with identifying triggers that perpetuate their addictive behaviors. People living with addiction may feel helpless and stuck in a repetitive cycle because of the failure to identify their triggers. A crucial role of mindfulness in recovery from addiction is to help one be more aware of one’s immediate environment and triggers.
Mindfulness Helps Improve Mood
Practicing mindfulness and appreciating yourself without judgment can also help boost your mood. This is very important for the overall well-being of people living with addiction.
In practicing mindfulness, there are practical techniques you can learn to help improve your mental well-being.
Mindful meditation is a practice that combines mindfulness and the concept of meditation. It is a practice that encourages one to slow down racing thoughts, eschew negativity, and calm one’s mind and body. Mindful meditation often involves practicing deep breathing and deliberate awareness of one’s body and mind.
Practicing mindfulness when dealing with addiction can significantly impact recovery. At Healing Pines, we offer a comprehensive approach to helping people with addiction recovery. We provide regular services such as residential inpatient treatment, individualized therapy, family therapy, etc. As part of our holistic approach to recovery, we also offer services in mindfulness and meditation, yoga therapy, and experiential therapy for addiction treatment. To access our premium services, contact us today as we partner with you in your journey to wholesomeness.
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