How Mindfulness Can Help in Addiction Recovery

How Mindfulness Can Help in Addiction Recovery

What is mindfulness, anyway? Mindfulness refers to being present in the moment. It means being aware of yourself and your surroundings at any given time. Mindfulness may come easily sometimes, but other times it might be a little more difficult.

Mindfulness requires quieting the mind and forgetting about any stressors or worries in order to focus only on the present moment. Although, this can be easier said than done. Drowning out life's everyday distractions can be challenging, but setting aside time each day to practice mindfulness can be very beneficial.

When it comes to treatment and recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol, spending time meditating or practicing mindfulness each day can really enhance your quality of life and help you stay on track. While there are many benefits of mindfulness, a few advantages during treatment and recovery can include:

  • Promotes balance
  • Relieves stress
  • Helps combat cravings

Promotes Balance

Finding balance during treatment and recovery can be difficult. Learning to prioritize your health and wellness while still fulfilling other obligations and responsibilities can be difficult. For so long, your only focus, thought, and priority was likely your addiction. You likely became so fixated on substance use that everything else seemed less important or secondary. As you enter treatment, you learn to reconnect with yourself and what is truly meaningful in your life.

As you regain your awareness of who you are and what really matters, practicing mindfulness can help you balance your thoughts, feelings, and goals.

Relieves Stress

Mindfulness can be very beneficial when it comes to managing stress. It goes without saying that addiction recovery comes with a fair share of stress. It is normal to experience stress in your life at some point. When you are working hard each day to stay on track and make the right decisions to avoid relapse, there can be some added pressure.

Mindfulness can often afford you a temporary escape from the stressors of daily life. It encourages you to focus only on what you are feeling and experiencing in that moment. Your mind might tend to run a little wild sometimes, especially when there is something stressing you out. Spending some time reconnecting with your inner self and checking in about how you are feeling in the moment can be very calming and reassuring.

Combats Cravings

Cravings are something that you will experience when recovering from addiction. It is best to try to avoid any known triggers, but despite these efforts, cravings may still occur. Just as practicing mindfulness and meditating can help ease stress by temporarily taking your focus away from those worries, it can do the same thing for cravings. By re-centering yourself and focusing on your surroundings in the present moment, you can stop those thought patterns that can often lead to relapse.

Sometimes, one of the best ways to combat cravings is by distracting yourself. What could be a better distraction than taking some time to re-center, regroup, and connect with yourself?

How to Practice Mindfulness

How do you practice mindfulness? Mindfulness can look different for everyone. Many activities such as meditation and yoga can incorporate mindfulness into your life. However, mindfulness can even be practiced in your kitchen or while you are on a walk.

Practicing mindfulness can be done on a whim, or it could be planned as part of a structured activity. Usually, mindfulness is most beneficial in environments where there are fewer distractions. Finding a quiet place that does not offer too much sensory stimulation is usually best. This is because the focus is to connect with your inner thoughts and feelings and only focus on what you are feeling and experiencing in that present moment. Too many external stimuli can disrupt the process.

Enlightened Solutions offers a variety of yoga classes and programs to promote mindfulness. Yoga creates a mind and body connection that promotes healing during the treatment and recovery process. Our instructors will teach you how to create a yoga practice that works for you and encourages mindfulness on a regular basis.

Many other forms of therapy can also encourage mindfulness. Enlightened Solutions often incorporates things such as horticulture therapy or music therapy, both of which involve using the senses and focus on what you are experiencing, seeing, hearing, or smelling in that very moment.

Mindfulness has many benefits and can promote healing when it comes to treatment and addiction. As mentioned, practicing mindfulness can be done in many different ways and in many different settings. What is important, though, is to incorporate mindfulness into your daily and weekly routines.

Mindfulness can have many benefits for the average individual. These benefits can include everything from reduced blood pressure to improved sleep quality and focus. For those in the treatment process or in recovery, it can be exceptionally helpful. Practicing mindfulness regularly can help with things like finding balance in your life, managing and reducing stress, and combating cravings you may experience. Enlightened Solutions offers a variety of activities that are focused on mindfulness and encourage connecting the mind and body while being present in the moment. Our holistic approach to treatment encourages healing in every aspect of life to promote better health and long-term recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we would love to help. To learn more about the ways in which mindfulness can benefit you in treatment and recovery, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation has been practiced for centuries and is known to have many benefits. These can include advantages to both your mental and physical health. Spending a few minutes per day meditating can prepare you to better cope with the rest of the day ahead.

Meditation is encouraged in many clinical settings, and treatment facilities are no exception. With benefits such as improved mood, better sleep, increased focus, and reduced stress, there is no question why facilities choose to incorporate meditation in their programs.

What Is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice that involves evoking self-awareness and can promote mental clarity and calmness. Meditation has various forms: mindfulness meditation, movement meditation, and focused meditation, to name a few. While there are many different types of meditation, a few elements remain similar between them all.

First, and perhaps most importantly, you must have a quiet environment free of distractions and external stimuli. You must also be in a comfortable body position. This can certainly vary from person to person or by type of meditation. A few postures could include sitting, laying down, or even walking. Next, you must have a point of focus. This could be a word, phrase, or even your breath. Lastly, for any type of meditation to be effective, an open mind and attitude are a must. This allows you to explore and accept your thoughts and feelings without trying to suppress or judge them.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is defined as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; it has been practiced for over 2,500 years. Simply put, mindfulness is paying attention on purpose. This involves making a conscious effort to be in and aware of the present moment while welcoming your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. We are so often conditioned to filter many of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations, making practicing mindfulness require just that – practice.

Mindfulness is an important component of meditation as it prepares the mind for the experience. It involves a moment-by-moment acceptance of – and focus on – what you are thinking, feeling, and sensing from the environment around you.

Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness

The benefits of meditating and practicing mindfulness can vary from individual to individual, depending on the needs of that person. As with many methods of holistic treatment, there can be both mental and physical benefits to practicing mindfulness and meditating during treatment and recovery. Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation that can be very advantageous and can help you establish balance throughout your recovery journey.

Meditation has been said to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Reasons for this could vary. Meditation, as mentioned above, often involves focusing on one thing, such as your breathing, throughout the exercise. Breathwork in itself has been found to ease nerves and produce a calming effect, so implementing this during meditation could certainly reduce stress and serve as a coping technique outside of practice.

Meditation has also been found to benefit the physical health of those who practice regularly. One of the main benefits studied heavily is the impact on blood pressure. As one of the most widespread, least controlled diseases worldwide, hypertension poses a threat to adults from all cultures and lifestyles. Due to its calming and stress-reducing techniques, meditation, in turn, has been shown to reduce hypertension.

Additionally, meditation has been found to help reduce insomnia and improve sleep. Specifically, sleep meditation is typically performed shortly before bed and can help calm the mind and reduce thoughts of the past or the future that may be causing sleep disturbances. Other forms of meditation, even during the day, can benefit evening sleep by reducing cortisol, the stress hormone.

Meditation and Mindfulness During Treatment

Implementing meditation and practicing mindfulness as part of treatment for substance use disorders has many benefits. In addition to the advantages listed above, such as improved sleep and reduced symptoms of stress and anxiety, meditation can aid in preventing relapse. Multiple domains of research suggest that meditation practice promotes executive functioning and cognitive control over automatic habits, especially related to repeated substance use and addiction. Studies show that meditation and mindfulness can also improve working memory and decision-making abilities among treatment recipients.

Implementing meditation and practicing mindfulness during treatment and recovery can be extremely beneficial to your experience and overall journey. Establishing good, healthy habits that provide you with tools to utilize even outside of the practice can be very helpful and aid in your success. Spending a few minutes each day focusing on the present and being intentional with your thoughts can make all the difference.

Taking a few minutes to meditate or practice mindfulness throughout your day can make a positive difference. Meditation involves intentionally becoming aware of the present and focusing on what you feel, think, and sense in that moment. You may be tasked with concentrating on your breathing or fixating on a specific word, phrase, or even object. Meditation and practicing mindfulness can have a variety of benefits. These benefits can include mental advantages such as reduced symptoms of stress and anxiety, or even improved mood. Meditation is known to have a calming effect and can help improve sleep and reduce stress as a result. Meditation can also have physical benefits and improve things such as blood pressure for some. Enlightened Solutions provides a holistic approach to treatment and encourages meditation and mindfulness as part of your recovery. If you are battling drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE


Friends

Why Living Life “One Day at a Time” Can Be Good for Us

Many of the sayings used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have moved from nondescript meeting rooms into our mainstream consciousness. These sayings include: “What other people think of you is none of your business,” “If you want what you’ve never had you must do what you’ve never done,” and “The healthy person finds happiness in helping others; thus, for him, unselfishness is selfish.” Possibly the best-known phrase to come from AA, however, is the phrase “one day at a time.” 

In terms of sobriety, “one day at a time” means that all you have to do is be sober today. That’s it. No long-range plans. In terms of changing a long-held habit, like drinking or using drugs, the thought of committing to being sober for the rest of your life can seem overwhelming. So break it down to one day, today. Just remain sober today. One day at a time.

Don’t Regret the Past

All people look back at episodes from their past with regret from time to time. If you have had a problem with drugs or alcohol, you may have a tendency to ruminate and beat yourself up over events that happened in the past, or perhaps actions that you didn’t take in the past. Your actions may have caused pain to the people who loved you. Dwelling on the past may be one of the reasons that you became addicted to drugs or alcohol in the first place, as many people drink or use to keep painful memories at bay. Dwelling on past mistakes can also be a trigger that could cause you to relapse. 

While it is impossible to forget the past, we can choose to not dwell on it. In fact, we can choose to be grateful for the past, even for the painful parts. What we have gone through has strengthened us and shaped us into who we are. When we find ourselves dwelling too much on the past, the phrase “one day at a time” can help to bring us back into the present, into today. We have no control over the past, but we can control our actions today. One day at a time.

Don’t Fear the Future

Thinking about the future can fill us with dread. If we have struggled with addiction or mental health issues, we can become afraid of the future. We might fear that we will start drinking or using again, or that our depression might return. We might be afraid that we will cause emotional distress to someone we love. We start to think about the future in terms of worst-case scenarios. We fear the future because we don’t know what will happen and we cannot control it. Excessive worry about unknowable future events can be a trigger that causes us to drink or use again. Although planning for the future is healthy and can be motivating, we never really know what will happen. As the saying goes, “life is what happens to us while we are making other plans,” so bring your attention back to today. You cannot control everything that happens today, but you can control the actions you take and your reactions to situations. Focus on today. One day at a time.

Additional Benefits of Taking Life One Day at a Time

Making the decision to focus on today instead of the past or the future can be very good for us beyond coping with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. As we learn to take one day at a time, we can also learn to cope with one challenge or problem at a time. At any given moment, most of us have a number of problems staring us in the face. It can seem overwhelming if we try to solve them all at once. Taking on one problem at a time is much easier, and much more effective.

In addition, when we focus on the present, we may find that we enjoy life more. We may notice the sights and sounds that we wouldn’t notice if we were obsessively focused on the past and the future. When we pay attention to the present, we can find more enjoyment in everyday activities, like eating a bowl of strawberries, taking your dog for a walk, or reading a book with a child.

Learning to Live Life One Day at a Time

So how do we learn to live life one day at a time? Part of how we do that is by making a conscious decision to focus on the present. When you notice that you are dwelling on the past or becoming anxious about the future, stop, take a breath, and bring your mind back to the present. You can use the phrase “one day at a time” as a reminder to bring your focus back to the here and now. Bring your attention back to what you are doing and what is happening right now.

Another way you can focus on the present is to shift your attention from your thoughts to your senses. Focus on something that you can see, something that you can hear, something you can touch, something you can taste, and something you can smell. Focusing on your senses will bring you into the present. It is a cliche to say that you need to stop and smell the roses, but sometimes you literally have to stop and smell the roses!

Learning to live in the present is a life skill that will help you in your recovery from drug or alcohol addiction and it is one of the skills that we will teach you at Enlightened Solutions. We are located on New Jersey’s southern shore and we are licensed to treat co-occurring disorders, which means that we can treat mental health issues, like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that often accompany addiction. We individualize a treatment plan for each client that comes through our doors and we focus on meeting the needs of the whole person. In addition to traditional psychotherapy and support groups, we offer a range of holistic treatment modalities including art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic care, and equine therapy. If you are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us at Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-5483 today.


Sound Therapy: The Sensational Healing of Sonic Power

Sound Therapy: The Sensational Healing of Sonic Power

Recovery from addictions is not always the same for everyone. Individualized approaches and treatment plans tend to yield better results for those seeking change from addictive behaviors. Exploring alternative therapies, such as sound therapy, may give you more options for your treatment program.

Sound therapy and other sensory therapies can help you heal by incorporating the mind-body connection. Sensations that we experience can elicit emotional responses and release pain. Sound can be a powerful way of stimulating our sensory pathways to help us heal from underlying causes of addiction.

Some sounds in nature, like waterfalls or calm rain, can have a calming effect on us. Other sounds, like musical notes or percussive instruments, can induce specific emotions. Sound therapy can help us learn mindfulness and reduce stress. What might you experience during a sound therapy session?

Mindfulness: Combating Your Distracting Thoughts

A sound therapy session may begin with some basic mindfulness exercises to help you relax and focus. You might even be asked to put a blindfold on to minimize sensory input from your eyes to elevate your sense of hearing. You may complete some breathing exercises or meditation. These exercises can be therapeutic in and of themselves, as you can also utilize mindfulness practices in other areas of your life.

The purpose of practicing mindfulness during sound therapy is to allow distracting thoughts to disappear from your conscious mind so that you can focus on the session. Remember that you can use mindfulness and breathing exercises outside of your sound therapy sessions!

Techniques and Sounds: What to Expect

Sound therapists may use a variety of devices and instruments to create sounds during your session. Sound therapists may use simple instruments like Tibetian sound bowls, gongs, or chimes, to create sounds. The sounds may also be akin to natural sounds, like white noise or other ambient non-musical sounds. Your sound therapist may also use pre-recorded sounds from electronic devices during your session.

As your sound therapist repeats or plays the sounds, you will be asked to relax further. You may feel certain emotions during the session, as sounds can trigger specific feelings in our minds. Sound therapists may also use a technique known as bilateral stimulation.

Bilateral Stimulation in Sound Therapy

Bilateral stimulation is a way of stimulating the brain by producing sensations that alternate from one side of the body to the other. A sound therapist may use bilateral stimulation by producing a sound for one ear and then the other ear in a repetitive, side-to-side fashion.

Bilateral stimulation activates both hemispheres of the brain and can help you relax more easily. Bilateral stimulation is a common practice in other therapies, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and your sound therapist may use this technique during your session as well.

Music Therapy: A Type of Sound Therapy

Music therapy can also be considered a form of sound therapy. During a music therapy session, you will listen to or engage in playing music with a trained music therapist. You may be asked to sing or write songs to learn new ways of expressing your feelings and emotions. A music therapist may also play specific songs to help you experience certain emotions within a safe environment.

Music and song can have a powerful effect on the mind and you might find yourself experiencing emotions that you struggle with managing. Your music therapist can help you learn to manage these emotions after eliciting them during your session.

The Benefits of Sound Therapy

Sounds, like music and specific pitches, can induce an emotional response in your mind. You may associate a specific song or sound with a memory or a thought. Sound therapy can benefit those in recovery from addiction by teaching new ways of relaxing and providing safe environments for experiencing emotions.

Following a sound therapy session, you may feel more relaxed and better able to manage stress. Sometimes, the after-effects of sound therapy sessions can carry over throughout the rest of the day. You may also benefit from learning how to focus and silence distracting thoughts as you engage in mindful practices during your sessions.

You may feel less anxious and experience positive mood changes. If you utilize alcohol or other substances as a means of relaxing or distracting yourself from thoughts, sound therapy may be a healthy substitute for your addictive behavior.

You may find yourself able to relax more easily without the negative effects of substance or alcohol addictions. Incorporating alternative approaches to treatment, like sound therapy and music therapy, can enhance your existing recovery plan.

Alternative therapies can help you to find newer and exciting approaches to manage your addictions and enhance your recovery treatment. Some approaches may be new to you and exposing yourself to a variety of treatment options can help you feel more in control of your treatment. Sound therapy, and other sensory therapies, can teach you how to relax, focus, and be more mindful throughout your day. In recovery, finding choices and alternative therapies can empower you to cultivate a unique and individualized approach to your recovery treatment. You will be inclined to participate in your recovery if the treatment suits your needs and interests. At Enlightened Solutions, we understand the value of sound therapy and other therapeutic techniques in helping our clients learn to cope with their addictive behaviors. Call us today at (833) 801-5483 to find a pathway to recovery that fits your needs and personality!


cooking

Why Learning to Cook Is the Perfect Recovery Activity

Picking up new skills, hobbies, and interests is an important part of recovering from a substance use disorder. These things give you a sense of direction, keep you occupied, and increase your sense of self-efficacy. There are many great activities for recovery. Many people learn or resume playing an instrument or making art, for example, or get into sports or fitness. One activity many people don’t think of is cooking but it’s an activity with a huge return on your time investment. Here’s why.

 

Cooking Your Own Food Is Healthier

It’s common for people starting out in recovery to have pretty poor health. Different substances affect your health in different ways. For example, excessive drinking can lead to cardiovascular disease, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and malnutrition. Addiction can lead you to neglect your health in general. Typically, these conditions start improving once you get sober, but eating healthier can give you a big boost. 

 

What’s more, a healthy diet is good for your mental health too. At least half of people with substance use issues have co-occurring mental health issues; one of the most common is major depression. A number of studies have found that diet has a significant effect on depression symptoms. People who eat a diet high in sugar, processed grains and meats, and fried food have much higher rates of depression than people who eat whole-food diets rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes, and lean meats.

 

Cooking your own meals at least a few times a week is the fastest way to turn around a bad diet. One study found that people who cook more of their own meals ate fewer calories overall, ate less sugar, and less fat than people who ate out frequently. The study also found that when these people do go out, these healthier trends persist. Even if you make the same food at home that you would get in a restaurant, it tends to be healthier when you cook it yourself. You are more likely to begin with whole ingredients and less likely to add the huge amounts of sugar, salt, and fat typically found in prepackaged or restaurant food. 

 

Cooking Is Great Exercise for Your Brain

Cooking is a cognitively complex skill, especially when you’re first learning. You have to plan your meal, get the ingredients, set up the workspace, and coordinate the preparation. You often have to keep track of several things at once and figure out the best way to use your time. This requires planning, visualization, timing, spatial awareness, and focus. You also use your senses of taste and smell more than you ordinarily would. All of this is great training for your brain. Unlike other ways of challenging your brain, cooking is hands-on and engaging. You don’t have to force yourself to think or concentrate. You have skin in the game because you have to eat what you cook.

 

Cooking Promotes Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a great recovery skill for many reasons. It helps you be more present and better cope with challenging emotions. While many people think of mindfulness as something that happens while sitting on a cushion in a quiet room, mindfulness is supposed to be something you bring to every aspect of your life. Mindfulness teachers often use mindful eating as an exercise. Too often, we gulp down our food while talking to someone, watching TV, or looking at our phones. We don’t even taste our food. 

 

If you want to eat mindfully, the best way to do it by far is to cook your own meal. When you make your own food, you’re naturally curious to know how it turned out. What’s more, you know what’s in it and you’ll want to know how to make it better. You are more likely to linger over each bite, thinking about things like whether you added enough salt or too much onion, whether you cooked the pasta long enough, and so on. Not only does this exercise bring you into the present moment, but it will improve your eating habits since you will eat more slowly and notice when you are full. 

 

Cooking Promotes Social Connection

Eating is probably the oldest form of social connection. Humans were likely sharing food before they were walking upright. Learning to cook even moderately well can be a great way of connecting to others. When you think about it, how many people do you know who can cook? Probably not many. Maybe not even one. Yet we all have to eat and we like to eat together. Cooking meals for friends and loved ones is a great excuse to get together and it’s often a more intimate experience than going out. After you cook a few decent meals for people, you will probably notice a bump in your popularity.

 

How to Get Started

Cooking is as easy or as hard as you want it to be. Most of the staples of the human diet are pretty easy to make. For most people, the easiest place to start is with scrambled eggs. It’s simple, it takes less than 10 minutes, there are few ingredients, and it’s something you can eat often. There are many tutorials on YouTube but Gordon Ramsay’s is probably the best. After you’ve gotten your scrambled eggs under control, add new dishes one at a time. Try to make foods you would normally get elsewhere. Hamburgers, pasta, salad, and potatoes are all easy to make and are both cheaper and healthier to make at home. You’ll quickly discover that cooking isn’t some arcane art; it’s mostly just about following instructions, saving good recipes, and practice. 

 

Cooking is a great recovery activity because it improves your physical and mental health, it challenges your brain in new ways, makes you more mindful, and it can be a way of connecting with others. Start simple by learning to make a few staple foods you like and build from there. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that recovery is not just about abstaining from drugs and alcohol but about building a better life. Our holistic programs help our clients heal in mind, body, and spirit. For more information, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.


5 Tips to Help You Stop Ruminating

5 Tips to Help You Stop Ruminating

Rumination is a repetitive pattern of thinking about something negative, either something from your past or something you’re worried might happen later. Rumination is a way of being mentally stuck.

All your energy goes into these repetitive thoughts. Not only does rumination distract you from more useful things but it also tends to make you depressed and anxious. 

 

According to the American Psychological Association, many studies have linked rumination to depression, including one study of more than 1,300 people, which found that ruminators were four times as likely as non-ruminators to develop major depression. Rumination is a bad habit in itself and if you are recovering from a substance use disorder, rumination can be a major liability.

An episode of anxiety or major depression is often a prelude to relapse. Therefore, if you are prone to rumination, it’s a good idea to do something about it as soon as possible. Here are some tips for stopping rumination.

 

Notice When You Ruminate

 

The first step is to notice when you’re ruminating. Part of what makes it so difficult to stop is that we get swept up in our thoughts and we don’t even notice it’s happening. When you do catch yourself ruminating, it’s important that you don’t beat yourself up.

Your first reflex might be to think something like, “Idiot! Knock that off!” What you want to do instead is pat yourself on the back for noticing that you were ruminating. “Oh, there I go again, but great job noticing!” You want to positively reinforce the act of catching rumination rather than punish yourself for ruminating. 

 

Once you do catch yourself ruminating, pay attention to the circumstances. There is typically a trigger; see if you can figure out what it is.

Our brains are highly associative so something as innocuous as a phrase in a news article might remind you of something embarrassing you did as a child and before you know it, you’ve been staring at the same article for 20 minutes, replaying that humiliating moment that no one else on the planet remembers. Just being aware of these rumination triggers can help keep you from getting stuck in a rut. 

 

Distract Yourself or Change Your Situation

 

As noted above, rumination is often triggered by specific situations. If you notice that’s the case, one thing you can do is just change your environment, at least temporarily. This gets you out of the ruminating frame of mind.

The sooner you do this, the easier it is to break the rumination cycle. Another similar strategy is to distract yourself. In other words, instead of changing your surroundings, change your focus.

Since rumination typically makes it hard to concentrate, it’s best to distract yourself with something engaging. Playing a video game, having a conversation with a friend, going for a walk, or listening to music are often effective distractions.

 

Practice Mindfulness

 

In a way, mindfulness is the opposite of distracting yourself. Instead of trying to break the cycle of rumination, you allow it to happen and you observe it nonjudgmentally. See what you can notice about your rumination.

What are you ruminating about? What part keeps repeating? Why is your mind so attached to that part? What emotions arise as you ruminate? Where do you feel those emotions in your body? 

 

You will probably notice some patterns very quickly. For example, you may notice that you feel strongly attached to your rumination and why you try to think about something else, it sort of pulls you back.

Why is that? Is there some sense in which you enjoy ruminating? Mindfully exploring your rumination can give you a lot of insight. It works best if you have a regular mindfulness meditation practice. Even 20 or 30 minutes a day will help you relax and gain insight into your thought processes.

 

Write It Down

 

One thing you may discover about rumination, if you watch it mindfully, is that you feel, deep down, like you’re solving a very important problem. So, for example, you said something embarrassing at work and your brain wants to replay the situation to figure out what happened and how you could have handled the situation better.

That’s actually pretty helpful. However, this often turns into replaying an embarrassing incident over and over, which is not helpful.

One reason a rumination tends to repeat is that you don’t want to forget the bit that you’ve worked through. Unfortunately, that means you never make much progress in solving the problem. 

 

One way to break out of the trap is to write down what you’re ruminating about. This brings your rumination into your conscious awareness—as noted above—and it gives your brain permission to stop rehearsing it.

Your very important problem is now safely down on paper and you can either continue thinking it through logically, on paper, or you can think about something else. 

 

Take Steps Toward Solving the Problem.

 

If you do continue writing about a problem, it may help you break the cycle of rumination. As noted, rumination is the desire to solve a problem run amok.

If you are able to state the problem clearly and perhaps take concrete steps toward solving it, you will immediately worry about it less. You don’t have to solve the whole problem at once; you really only need a clear idea of the first step and a workable plan for following through.

 

Rumination, like any bad habit, takes time and patience to quit, but it’s well worth the effort. Awareness and attention are the keys.

It’s also helpful to remember that your brain is trying to do something useful. Once you better understand how rumination works, in general, and for you specifically, it’s easier to get out of the trap.

 At Enlightened Solutions, we use a variety of holistic methods, including evidence-based therapeutic methods, yoga, mindfulness, and others, to help our clients cope with challenging emotions and lead more fulfilling lives. For more information, call us at 833-801-LIVE.


Creating Space for Healing

Creating Space for Healing

When working towards recovery, one of the challenges we can find ourselves confronted with is feeling totally overwhelmed by the turmoil and chaos in our lives. Sometimes this tumult is internal, coming from deeply rooted fears, unhealed trauma and unresolved issues. Sometimes our conflict is interpersonal, and we struggle with toxicity in our relationships and endless cycles of unhealthy relationships. For many of us, the turmoil is both internal and external, with both playing off of each other and exacerbating one another. One way we can remedy this conflict is to create space within ourselves and our lives. When we create space, we distance ourselves from the healthy patterns we’ve become embroiled in and make room for healthier patterns to take root.

Creating space can be challenging because it asks us to shed things we’ve become accustomed to, things we’re familiar and comfortable with. Take a look at what is causing the overwhelm in your life. Is it a toxic thought pattern causing you to obsess about unnecessary things and bringing you down? Is it a relationship that leaves you feeling drained and depleted of your energy? Is it someone in your life who is toxic for you, who encroaches upon your space and doesn’t allow you the solitude you need to heal? Taking inventory of all the things taking up your mental and emotional space is an important first step in creating more room for yourself.

We can create space for ourselves in different ways. We can remove the relationships that are harmful to our well-being. We can work to heal the thought patterns occupying our minds. We can give ourselves plenty of time for solitude. Mindfulness practices help us to access the space within us that offers us peace, tranquility and stillness. Meditate and learn to reach for that silence. Journal to help you process the thoughts and emotions that are cluttering your mind and overwhelming your heart. Practice visualizing yourself liberated from the constraints and limitations that were robbing you of your internal space and freedom.

When we’ve learned how to access our inner stillness, silence and spaciousness, we create room for new and healthier things to develop. We can practice habits that lead to better health. We can take better care of our minds, hearts and bodies. We can form relationships that bolster our well-being rather than detract from it. We can start develop new patterns that reflect self-love and healing rather than conflict and turmoil.

Holistic healing is an important part of recovery here at Enlightened Solutions. We work with you to heal mind, body and spirit. Call (833) 801-LIVE for more information on our effective and transformative treatment programs.


Mindfulness for Healing

Mindfulness for Healing

Most of our suffering happens without us being fully conscious of it. We often don’t know why we feel the way we feel. We aren’t aware of the ways in which we are contributing to our own challenges. We don’t have a clear understanding of what we’re going through and what caused it. Our subconscious minds direct most of our thoughts and behaviors, so much of our suffering is happening outside of what we are conscious of. How do we become more aware and grow in understanding?

Mindfulness teaches us to put our conscious attention on the issue or task at hand. It asks that we slow down, get quiet, be still, and allow ourselves the space and time to really be present. We often are focused elsewhere, caught up in another issue, or distracted by other things. When it comes to our mental and emotional health, we can learn how to bring mindful awareness to our thoughts and emotions, which can help us to move through them in healthier ways.

Breathing and Meditation

Focusing on our breathing is one form of meditation, and the more we practice, the more we can slow down our racing thoughts. When our minds are overly active, it is hard for us to have the clarity that helps us to process our thoughts and feelings. We might be easily overwhelmed, confused, distracted, or agitated. We might feel like we’re all over the place. We might be inundated with sad and anxious thoughts. Breathing and meditation help us to develop more control over our thoughts. We learn to direct our thoughts in ways that benefit us rather than contribute to our mental and emotional stress. As we slow down and process our emotions, we give ourselves the opportunity to really heal.

Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is the foundation for recovery. We often move through life without consciously reflecting on our issues, behaviors, cycles and patterns. We don’t often look at our mistakes to see what lessons we can glean from them. Sometimes we feel too depressed to reflect, sometimes we are afraid or in denial. When we are struggling with our addictions and mental health issues, sometimes we don’t do the work of analyzing for ourselves what may have caused these issues, how our inner world manifested them, and what we can stand to learn from it all.

Start by being open and honest with yourself. Ask yourself questions such as “what is really bothering me? Why am I depressed? What subconscious fears am I burying underneath my addictive behaviors?” Write in a journal. Talk to someone. Anything we can do to bring more mindful awareness to our issues can help us to heal them.

We believe in the power of holistic healing at Enlightened Solutions. Call (833) 801-LIVE for more information.


Caring for the Body, Mind, and Soul

Setting Energetic Boundaries

Once physical recovery is established, it is time to begin the pathway to emotional and spiritual recovery.  It is challenging to effect change on these planes of healing before physical sobriety is established.  Once it is established, it is essential to take actions to create both emotional healing and spiritual awakening in order to sustain recovery over time.  

Emotional sobriety is discovered in the process of examining and transforming one’s relationship with control. When the addict is engaging with control, this is called ‘being the  director’ of all of life.  The releasing of this orientation is named ‘living life on life’s terms’.   These two phrases are used to identify two states, demonstrating when an addict has taken back the control of their life from their higher power and when they have surrendered it back to their higher power.

Both of these expressions highlight the journey of emotional sobriety discovered through the exploration of boundaries.  They allow us to learn where our lives end and where others begin.  Through them, we learn to stay on our side of the street.  Honoring both sides of the median, there is also this place of overlap between you and others.  Energetic tools are some techniques to expand personal capacity to relinquish control in the the overlap space so that you are able to be of service.  Some tools follow:  

  • The egg visualization: this is the process of seeing or feeling an egg-shaped circular sphere that surrounds your field.  As this space is shared with others, envision it as a permeable substance.  It can be explored by filling it up with soft, colored light when extra cleansing is needed.  
  • Rose bridge between hearts: allow the vision of a bridge made of rose petals that extends from the space of your heart to the heart of the other.  Imagine a river of energy in the color green from one end of the bridge to the other.  
  • Paint brushing: creating a paintbrush in your imagination that paints in clouds to cloud-paint the space of your field and the field of the person you are being of service to.  Rather than engaging the field to protect, you are now engaging the field to bolster the sense of unity.  
  • Breathwork: explore the power of the breath matched with mantra.  Perhaps inhaling ‘thy will’, exhaling ‘my will’.  Allow yourself to creatively explore mantras that enliven your sense of connection to God.   

 

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.


Ways to Stay Grounded

Ways to Stay Grounded

In today’s fast-paced world, we aren’t allowed to take our sweet time. There are coffee shops on every corner and the conception that the more productivity the more successful. This may be true to a certain extent. However, it’s always important to stop and smell the roses. The goal is to work towards staying grounded. This is a good practice when a person is overwhelmed with life’s stressors.

Upon waking, take some at least five minutes for meditation. Sitting with God, asking for guidance will show to be a game changer. It’s recommended to take time for yoga or some kind of exercise that helps clear the mind. Going for a run outside or a hike is especially valuable for being amongst mother nature.

Another way to stay grounded is to eat well. That absolutely does not mean counting calories or any crazy fad diets. People forget that food helps in the healing process. The nutrients found in whole organic, non-processed foods help aid in keeping the body going throughout the day. Being mindful with food is a way of listening to the body, how it feels, and what it needs most. What it doesn’t need is processed, high sugar diets slowing it down. This might be hard at first, but eating for the nutrients will change anyone’s relationship with food for the better.

A major issue swallowing up this and new generations to come is the connectivity to electronic devices. This is unfortunate, given that one should strive to connect with themselves, and the earth. The earth does so much and works so hard to be able to sustain life. When there is respect for the planet, a person will feel more at peace with their actions. Appreciating the earth and mother nature is a key component in becoming less self-absorbed.

The intuition is always there, willing to help guide whenever it is listened to. Intuitive thoughts cannot be heard if the mind is running the show. Being aware of the bodies chakras and find the root of any problem will help clear the vessel connecting God, the body, and the earth. Taking care of our bodies shows it the respect it deserves. This is a form of self-love which is linked to living a healthy, well-rounded life on earth. Human beings must attempt to become grounded if there will be any hope to cope with life's daily struggles with grace and dignity.

 

Enlightened Solutions encourages patients to grow from their trauma and come out stronger on the other end with peace and serenity. Staying free of drugs and alcohol can give addicts a new look at life’s surrounding beauty. Call us in New Jersey today: 833-801-5483.