One of the most important ways to stay in recovery is being fully present. When we become fully present, our minds are calm. The practice of staying present centers our thoughts on the task at hand. Hence, we can focus more on what we need to do today to make progress in recovery. Mindfulness allows you to live in the moment, focusing all your energy on what is happening in front of you.
What Does it Mean to “Stay Present”?
Many of us find staying present a laborious task. We find our minds constantly roving our past or expecting the future. Yet, when we take the time to focus on the present moment, we increase the odds of being more productive and less stressed. When present, a person remains present in the moment. Such an approach leads to a fuller awareness of self and one’s present circumstances. However, many people struggle to do so, especially when experiencing anxiety or depression. People try to escape their feelings by looking away from their current situations, especially when they find it problematic. Yet, by practicing mindfulness, we can learn to remain fully present during recovery and reduce the negative impact anxiety or depression have on our life.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the century-old practice of using awareness to cultivate deep inner peace and happiness and create balance in our minds, bodies, and spirits. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment, emotions, or thoughts without judgment or criticism. Mindfulness teaches us that change can only happen when we face things head-on.
Mindfulness Impact on SUD
Mindfulness exercises can cultivate an individual’s ability to cope with tough experiences and emotions that are bound to come up in recovery. Scientists consider remaining present to play a vital role in overcoming addiction. It especially matters for individuals with SUD seeking to transform maladaptive behaviors into purposeful living.
A study funded by the National Institute On Drug Abuse tracked a mindful awareness training program that improved conditions for women in treatment for SUD. The program used in this study focused on identifying and managing emotions and developing coping skills by teaching the women mindfulness skills “related to identification and perception of internal signals.” With the right tools, individuals with SUD gain the ability to maintain a positive perspective, which leads to improved quality of life and better long-term outcomes.
The Benefits of Mindfulness for Recovery
Mindfulness can help a person feel alive, happier, and healthier. In addition to emotional benefits – it can also help with pain management, insomnia, and even addictive behaviors. The benefits include:
- Helps reduce brain fog: Many find it tough to face their current challenges. This makes it even harder to resolve issues like SUD. Mindfulness eases the way to breaking the cycle of addiction and living a healthier life.
- Avoid ruminating: Ruminating over the past increases stress levels, which can trigger a relapse. Mindfulness helps individuals to shift their focus continues to the present without using maladaptive coping.
- Improves a person’s mental health: Many individuals suffering from SUD experience a mental health disorder that makes them vulnerable to a relapse. Yet, mindfulness can reduce mental health disorders’ symptoms like depression and anxiety of mental health. Thus, leading to a boost in one’s mood.
- Improves self-awareness and self-regulation: Being mindful allows you to notice your emotions and emotional state by monitoring your state without judgment. Hence, it reduces reactivity while increasing an individual’s ability to make proactive choices. As a result, one will see improvements in their relationships, jobs, education, and life.
3 Techniques for Practicing Mindfulness
There are a variety of techniques that can help with mindfulness. Exceptional treatment centers like Restoration Recovery offer a list of holistic services. Some of these techniques include the following that you can practicer at home, too.
#1 Breath Work: Breathing in deeply through your nose and out slowly through your mouth is one of the simplest ways to regulate emotions! Deep breathing can help you feel more grounded and relaxed. Try this technique when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or eager to get back into a neutral state.
#2 Grounding Techniques: For anxiety, stress, or even to get in the zone before a big meeting, grounding techniques help you anchor yourself. Grounding techniques are a way of connecting to the present and reducing the intensity of a current emotion or memory. These techniques include slow movement or some form of physical touch.
#3 Meditation: Meditation is another way to find your center. Some people find it fruitful to meditate in nature, their rooms, a place of worship, etc. Meditation offers a variety of health benefits, including the ability to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It also helps increase treatment retention rates.
A person amid SUD recovery often worries about the future what-ifs. They might dwell on their illness and its impact on their lives or loved ones. Mindfulness is more than just meditation. It transforms a person’s life. Mindfulness teaches a person to appreciate each moment rather than constantly worrying about what could go wrong. It’s difficult to live when you’re facing major life changes, but it can be much easier with mindfulness. As a powerful tool for beating cravings and withdrawal, it provides relief and sustains motivation to stick with treatment goals. If you or a loved one are struggling with SUD, try practicing mindfulness. Besides providing medically supervised detox and evidenced-based therapies, at Restoration Recovery, we support mindfulness techniques. Our clients have access to many holistic services that include yoga, nature walks, meditation, and more to support their mindfulness. To learn more about our services, contact us at (888) 290-0925.