Mindfulness-based stress reduction

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Addictions are a coping mechanism for stress and trauma and the originating causes of addiction may vary greatly.  It might be an old trauma that needs healing or it can simply be the daily stresses of a complex life in a challenging world.  In these examples, one cause, trauma, can be healed.  However, the impact of the daily stresses of life can be reduced by healthy coping mechanisms.  This reduction increases the probability of continuous sobriety.  

Addicts are thought to be both mentally and bodily different from non-addicts.  The differences of the body must be accepted as a permanent condition. The mind enables the individual to overcome addiction.  It can also be harnessed as a powerful tool for coping with stresses.   Unharnessed, the mind zooms in on the source of stress.  It imagines the future involving the stress with the worst possible outcomes or spends tremendous focus imagining actions to avoid it.  Well-intended by the mind, all of this attention has the effect of amplifying the source of the stress.  

This highlights that the imagination of the mind often paints a worse picture than the reality of the experience.  You can engage mindfulness to quiet the mind about life stresses.  Mindfulness works because it does not ask the mind to stop imagining but gives it other focuses for its dreaming.  The following are some exercises to explore:

  • Engaging the senses: bring more of your attention to your senses by engaging touch, taste, sound, sight or smell.  For example, if you worry about what will happen at work, look more deeply at the environment as you walk there.  The deeper looking will consume some of the energy of worrying.  
  • Gratitude list: make a list of all that is good in your life.  This can be done generally, or in relationship to a specific stressor.  For example, if you are stressed about seeing your ex at a party, make a gratitude list of all the gifts of the relationship, of the break-up and other anticipated benefits of attending the party..  
  • Meditation: if repetitive thoughts are occurring during your practice, allow yourself to simply be with the thoughts without sinking deeply into them.  Explore how you can lightly be with thoughts without being consumed by them.  

 

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


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5 Reasons To Stay Out Of A Relationship In Early Recovery

Emotions run high in early recovery and many people seek comfort through a relationship. Here are our top five reasons to stay out of a relationship in early recovery.

  1. No Harm Will Come To You If You Don’t Date: Loneliness is not an ideal prospect. Falling in love can feel good- really good, but it can also be a distraction. Though you might feel lonely, longing for attention, and cravings for physical intimacy, living without those things won’t cause you any damage. They are manageable triggers that don’t include the overwhelming stimulus of another person. You can live without it, the same way you’re learning to live without drugs and alcohol.
  2. Harm Might Come To You If You Do: Unfortunately, you’re at greater risk for desperation in a relationship than you are out of one. People are complicated and so is love. In early recovery, you’re sensitive and not completely in touch with your feelings yet. Dating another person in early recovery, or anyone, can bring up stuff you aren’t ready to work on, put you in tough situations, or, in the event of a break up, cause inconsolable heartbreak. Sadly, many people relapse and overdose because of their inability to cope with rejection, abandonment, and codependency which comes from a break up.
  3. You’re Just Getting To Know Yourself: Being in a relationship is about more than being in a relationship. Romantic partnerships are about meeting someone else’s needs and your needs in a healthy way. Most people in early recovery are only just beginning to discover what their needs are. You’ve just started the journey of getting to know yourself and how you work as a person. Trying to balance that with a whole other person and all of their ‘stuff’ can be really hard to do.
  4. You’ve Had Abusive Relationships In The Past: If you've had abusive relationships in the past and are in early recovery, you might miss the signs of an abuser. Repeating patterns is easy to do in early recovery. You're Dedicated to healing and changing your life in a way you never have before. There’s no need to suffer more abuse or stay in a situation that might inspire you to relapse.
  5. It’s About You Right Now: Balancing your time and energy with another person is hard when you’re in such a selfish place. Right now, compared to the past, you’re in a  good selfish place. It’s all about you, your recovery, and your fight to save your life. When you are ready for a relationship, you will have new standards in who you want and how you want to be in a relationship with them.

Enlightened Solutions is a certified co-occurring treatment center, offering treatment and support for both substance use disorders and mental health disorders. If you are struggling to get sober and need help recovering, call us today for more information at 833-801-5483.


Music Therapy and EDM: A Link for Treatment

Last year, the EDM (electronic dance music) industry reached a peak in industrial growth. The most recent numbers came from the 2014-2015 year which saw a drop in growth (12%). From 2013-2014, the electronic dance music industry grew an impressive 37%. In that time the number of EDM ‘festivals’ seemed to quadruple with local, small scale events happening regularly. Live music events account for the majority of the current value at nearly $7 billion.

Electronic Dance Music comes under a lot of scrutiny for its close affiliation with drugs. Psychedelics and psychoactives are renown for ‘enhancing’ the music experience. Drugs like psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and acid (LSD) are common. Most widely known is ecstasy or MDMA. MDMA is a psychoactive that primarily interacts with serotonin. Along with feelings of euphoria and the sensation of being connected or in love with the whole world come dangerous side effects. MDMA is not always pure. It can be cut with heroin, meth, crack, and other drugs. Overheating, dehydration, high blood pressure, and hypertension are the primary causes for overdose and death at EDM festivals each year. “Green amor” is a new drug being sold at EDM shows combining MDMA and crystal meth.

Death counts are startling at these shows. As recently as May, 5 people died at one EDM show in the Philippines, due to overdose and heart attack on MDMA and other drugs. July of 2014, the start of that year’s festival season, had an already reported 15 deaths.

Despite slowing growth, EDM has transformed into a global community. Now, neuroscience researchers are looking into what it is about EDM that makes the music itself addicting and how that could possibly help addicts in recovery.

Music Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Music therapy is an alternative modality used by treatment centers. Creative output plus the healing energy of sound equate to a unique application of expressive arts. Australian researchers are looking to study the neuroscience of the brain ‘on’ EDM.

Formulaically, EDM includes a build up and a ‘drop’. The researchers assign both of these parts with craving and pleasure, respectively. For most EDM fans, the music is highlighted by the drop in bass and melody. Researchers believe there is a connection between how the brain experiences craving and pleasure in the music as well as in mental disorders with cravings, such as addiction. Music is used as a therapeutic tool in emotional regulation for people with and without mental illnesses. Individualized music therapy programs could help reduce acute symptoms of craving, the researchers believe.

Enlightened solutions incorporates music therapy as part of a holistic treatment program. Seeking to heal mind, body, and spirit, enlightened solutions offers a bunch of hippie shit. To learn more and get your chakras assessed, call 833-801-5483.


What Happens to Our Memories?

The human memory has difficulty recalling experience before the age of about three years old. Humorously, we adopt this fact as if there is little significance to the first two years of our development. Psychologically, we have been convinced that developmental stages are too early at these young ages, meaning that infantile children are without the capacity of memory. Yet, the very basics of developmental psychology prove otherwise. Watch a child of about two years watch their parents and you will see them imitate facial expressions and sounds. Working memory helps young babies begin to develop behavioral functions.

Children at younger ages have the ability to recall memorable events from within the first twenty months of their lives. By the ages between four and seven years old those memories disappear. Where do they go, and why? The memories simply aren’t memorable enough. Retained memory is different from short term memory. Retaining a memory depends on how much emotion is infused in the experience. Memory episodes are also largely conditional based upon context. Conceptualizing the meanings within episodic memory is a necessity. Being able to have some comprehension of what was going on around us helped us make sense of that situation. Without that basic understanding, there is no way to hold onto the experience. Memory retention is also a matter of sleuth. Our brains investigate the legitimacy of each memory. If the story checks out, the memory gets into our long term storage banks to be recalled at a later date.

 

Memory and Recovery from Drug and Alcohol Addiction

We can be vulnerable to false memories from using friends or angry parents, and we can reshape our real memories by telling new stories about them. Unknowingly, we can be affected by memories we aren’t aware of, which are called recognition memories. For example, we may turn a street corner and be met with triggering feelings of unease or even euphoric recall. In the midst of a blackout from intoxication we might have had an experience here, yet have not recalled it. Drugs and alcohol impair our memories of all times. Recovery is a healing process for the brain which can result in recovering newer and older memories. Not all memories will be welcomed warmly because they are not pleasant memories. Healing the unconscious of our addicted past will help us create new memories for a future free from drugs and alcohol.

 

Enlightened Solutions knows how challenging it can be to remember life before drug and alcohol addiction. In our treatment programs for men and women we help with learning to live life after addiction. Through holistic therapy methods and 12 step philosophy our program builds new memories in healthy spirit, body, and mind.

Call us today for more information, 833-801-5483.