It is easy to start moving through life on auto-pilot when we are engrossed in our daily routines. Technology offers a world of distraction at our fingertips, so there’s a tendency to miss out on the richness of day-to-day experiences, even in our quiet moments.
There’s a reason why substance abuse started as a coping mechanism for dealing with life’s stressors for many of us. Addiction consistently obscures the present moment.
Mindfulness refers to a set of meditation practices that focus on being present in the moment. In addition to its spiritual and mental health benefits, mindfulness provides an effective alternative to more toxic, addictive coping strategies.
Mindfulness trains our brains to focus on the moment in ways that are complementary to the recovery mindset. People sometimes stumble in their recovery journeys when their minds wander and begin to obsess with the future or past, bringing on cravings and cyclical addictive thinking. The practice of mindfulness combats this thinking in a variety of ways:
Getting started with mindfulness is simple. A few small lifestyle changes can help you start down the path to a very rewarding lifelong practice. Here are our tips to help you begin:
For many of us, mindfulness means putting in a bit of effort to pull our awareness back into the present. When you feel yourself reaching for a phone or a distraction in moments of lower stimulation, refocus. Even during routine tasks like chores around the home, try to notice the physical sensations, textures, scents, and natural melodies that are easy to tune out when we’re going through the motions. You can also look inwards to check in with your feelings and stressors at that moment and take stock. This practice helps us perceive reality with more clarity and helps us to cope with its challenges more readily.
Just breathe may seem like a tired adage; however, focusing on our breath truly helps restore a sense of reality and control when feeling overwhelmed. It’s a good idea to look into some simple breathing exercises to implement throughout the day. For example, when you get a quiet moment, take a few seconds to inhale at a normal rate through the nose before exhaling at a measured slow pace through your mouth. Do this with intention a few times a day, noting how it feels, and you’ve already stepped into mindful practice.
Don’t be afraid to slow down and be still. It is too simple to get caught up in day to day activity and forget that our to-do list is not the best measure of our worth. We matter just as much when we are taking the time to be still, listen, and feel, as we do when we’re checking off our responsibilities and appointments in professional and personal spheres. Get comfortable with a sense of inner stillness, and let your support come from within.
At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of alternative modalities to complement our mainstream therapy offerings, including meditation, yoga, art and music therapy, and reiki. Our focus is on healing the whole person rather than merely treating the addiction. If you are struggling with addiction and want to enroll in an addiction treatment program with a holistic approach, please reach out at (833) 801-5483.
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