More on Mindfulness
How does mindfulness help with addiction recovery? Mindfulness helps with addiction recovery by helping quiet the racing thoughts that lead to emotional distress and erratic behavior patterns. In so many words, mindfulness helps people slow down and focus on the moment — and the task — at hand. As addicts and alcoholics, we tend to experience racing thoughts from time to time. We might dwell on past mistakes, or stress about all we have to accomplish that day. In other words, we live in the past, dread the future, or both. Mindfulness helps us take a breath and focus on where we presently are. Are we ok, right now, in this moment?
Benefits of Developing a Mindfulness Practice:
Observing yourself and the world around you without judgement – Most people who struggle with addiction are harshly self-critical. Because of this, we also have a tendency to be critical of the world around us. Mindfulness allows us the opportunity to observe what is happening without criticizing it. For example, rather than saying, “I shouldn’t be sad, I have no right to be sad,” we say, “I am sad right now, and that is okay. The sadness is going to pass, and it’s simply where I am right now.”
Actively participating in life – We tend to subconsciously weigh out everything that could potentially go wrong before we actually take action (if we take action at all). Mindfulness helps us participate in the world around us and enjoy what we are experiencing.
An improved ability to communicate thoughts and feelings in healthy, productive ways – Rather than reacting to a given situation, you become able to assess it rationally and describe the way the situation made you feel.
Learning how to focus one one thing at a time – If we have a lot to take care of in a short amount of time, we are likely to get overwhelmed and ignore all of our obligations completely. Mindfulness helps us focus on one thing at a time, focusing on what is directly ahead of us in the given moment.
Helps us spot relapse triggers — Mindfulness helps people build self-awareness, and self-awareness is essential to recognizing and working through relapse triggers. This technique helps us evaluate situations with a non-judgemental eye, but it also helps us recognize when we are thinking or behaving in a way that needs to change.
At Guardian Recovery Network we teach mindfulness techniques in group workshops and in one-on-one therapy.