Mindfulness Practices to Support Recovery
Feb 15, 2022
There are a lot of ups and downs when in recovery and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by emotions at times and lose sight of our progress or long-term goals. One technique that can help ground someone feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious is practicing Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of being present “in the here and now.” It helps us become tuned in to our feelings and actions, focusing on what we are going through and giving ourselves the grace to accept where we have been. It is a valuable skill to practice in recovery because it helps us recognize our growth and better understand our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Studies have shown that Mindfulness can positively reshape the brain and improve overall mental health and well-being.
Benefits of practicing Mindfulness
- Increased self-awareness – Practicing Mindfulness helps us become more aware of our feelings and emotions and channel them into positive actions. There are so many phases of addiction recovery that it can sometimes feel daunting to think about the challenges we might still face along the way. Mindfulness helps us focus on the present, let go of negative thoughts about the past, and set aside worries about the future. Using Mindfulness allows the mind to only focus on the current moment.
- Non-judgmental attitudes – It can be easy to harp on feelings of regret or shame about past actions. Mindfulness recognizes that thoughts are fleeting, and we shouldn’t be too harsh in passing judgment for feeling something we don’t think we should. In recovery, there may be times we feel disappointed with our progress, but it’s important to recognize growth and move forward. We may not be able to change the past, but we can focus on the positive steps we are taking in our lives at this moment.
- Improved mood and mindset – When we become more aware of our feelings and emotions, we can channel any negative thoughts or behaviors before acting out. This awareness can improve our overall mood and help maintain a positive outlook on life. This act can also help with relationships with others. When we become aware of our thoughts and our body sensations, we develop the ability to stop ourselves from lashing out at others in a moment of distress.
- Breathing exercises – When negative feelings or emotions enter our minds, it can be helpful to take deep breaths and focus attention on controlling our breathing. Once our breathing is controlled, we can better take control of our bodies.
- Meditation – Find a quiet place to disengage with what is going on in your life and focus on being present in the moment. This deep stage of relaxation can help one to breathe in positive thoughts and energy and exhale any negative thoughts or energy that we may be carrying.
- Healthy eating – Taking care of our physical bodies can do wonders for our mental well-being. Being mindful includes understanding what your body needs physically for nourishment and continued health.
- Yoga/physical activity – Participating in physical activity can positively affect mental health and help the mind feel better connected to the body. Physical exercise releases endorphins and serotonin. These allow your brain to experience happiness and pleasure. Yoga uses slow movements and stretches to connect the mind, body, and spirit with slow, deep breaths.
- Go Outdoors – Being outdoors and enjoying nature can have a positive impact on how we feel, boost positivity and alleviate symptoms of depression. The outdoors is also a great place for physical exercise and to practice other techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises.
Creating a mindfulness practice can help support the mental health of an individual in recovery and have a serious impact on continued growth and progress. So much of the addiction recovery journey depends on a healthy mindset and dedication to goals. If you or someone you know might benefit from mental health support in recovery or need help with substance use disorder, contact CleanSlate at 833-505-4673.