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.


There’s A Healthy Way To Process Your Anger

Anger gets a bad reputation. Much of how we identify with, understand, and process anger has to do with what we were taught about anger when we were younger. Watching our parents handle their own anger gave us some ideas about what anger means. For example, some people have parents who got angry about everything, including the weather. Other people had parents who never got angry and shunned the child for ever displaying anger. Anger is widely misunderstood, which is unfortunate because it is an essential reaction. Anger is born out of stress, rooted in two primary emotional experiences: fear and sadness. We developed anger as a reaction. Anger is survival. When we get angry, our adrenaline starts pumping and we release other stress hormones in order to get through what we are going through. Unfortunately, we can’t get through it unless we have a way of releasing our anger.

Anger can be released in healthy ways and anger can be released in unhealthy ways. Most often, anger comes out in a toxic, violent manner because that is what we have been shown about anger. However, anger can be processed in a more calm and rational way which acknowledges and validates the anger without letting it completely take over.

First, You Need To Reduce The Stress

Once those stress hormones start flowing, you cannot objectively assess your emotions until they have calmed down. Calming down during anger is not contradicting or condoning whatever it is you are angry about. Instead, it is giving you the space and opportunity to process your anger. Try a breathing technique, take a shower, or go for a walk.

Second, Understand Your Anger

You Have a right to be angry about whatever you are angry about, because you have a right to all of your emotional experiences. It’s important to identify what exactly it is you are angry about. Often, what seems like the perfect victim of your anger on the surface is not what is really going on underneath. Furthermore, you might be more angry about the fact that you've been caused to feel afraid or sad than what has actually happened.

Create Mindful Reality

Taking the time to identify the true source of your anger helps you separate rage from reality. We want anger to punish someone for our own pain. We often here that anger is the poison we drink, intending to hurt someone else. Being mindful of your emotions helps you to identify what is real from what is not real. From there you can move forward and heal.

Anger management is an important part of the recovery process. Enlightened Solutions has created a program that helps clients become integrated with their emotional, physical, and spiritual selves. For more information on our treatment programs for addiction and dual diagnosis issues, call 833-801-5483.