If you are part of a recovery support group for your addiction, you may be familiar with the term mindfulness. This is a meditation technique used by many people in recovery that has proven to be very beneficial. However, some recovering addicts assume that this type of technique is a bit too ‘hippy’ for them and not something that they want to get into. Nevertheless, mindfulness can be an excellent method to help you get through your recovery unscathed.
Some addicts practice mindfulness meditation every single day and swear by it. But what is meditation in this context? It is simply the practice of directing your thinking to make you feel better both physically and emotionally. It can also involve certain mind exercises that will help you to tune in and draw strength – whether that be from a higher power that you believe in or just the world around you.
What is Mindfulness?
In mindfulness meditation, you are taught to become aware of your feelings, thoughts, and sensations, and to accept them without making any judgements. Mindfulness teaches you to dismiss distractions and to learn how to deal with your feelings and thoughts. Instead of allowing certain feelings and emotions to take control of you, you can learn how to give these feelings a brief acknowledgement before letting them go again.
In terms of recovery, mindfulness is often used by recovering addicts to deal with cravings and/or triggers. Those who are practicing mindfulness can experience their cravings without giving in to them. In terms of triggers or negative thoughts, people in recovery can learn to deal with these without allowing them to take over and cause a relapse. Mindfulness can be an effective weapon in one’s recovery arsenal.
The Science Behind Mindfulness
Although many people have been critical of meditation techniques, liking it to some kind of new age hippy phenomenon, these techniques have been around for centuries. Scientific imaging has now proven that mindfulness meditation does work. In fact, studies have shown that in just a few weeks, mindfulness meditation can change the way the brain works, which results in individuals focusing more clearly and paying better attention to the world around them. Those who practice mindfulness will benefit from reduced stress and will take better care of themselves. They will see an improvement in their decision making, impulse control, memory, and learning.
Mindfulness can enhance recovery as it also helps to reduce depression, anxiety, anger and can also lessen pain and improve the immune system as well.
If you would like to give mindfulness a go, then you need to learn how it works. Mindfulness meditation classes with an expert can help you learn, alternatively you could look online for instructional videos. Once you have learned the skills involved, you need to practice. It is not something that will come to you instantly, but the more practice you do, the better you will become.
Think about integrating mindfulness meditation into your daily routine and set a specific time aside each day for practice. Many people like to practice first thing in the morning because it helps them to feel good for the day ahead. Nonetheless, others like to wait until the end of the day before they go to bed, so they are relaxed.
Learning certain breathing techniques will help you to get ready for meditation and to empty your mind of the thoughts that are no doubt running through your head. Focus on your breathing and take deep breaths. Alternatively, you can close your eyes and count in your head focusing on nothing but the numbers. This is an excellent technique to prepare yourself for mindfulness.
If you would like to practice mindfulness meditation and think it would be good for your recovery, call Addiction Helper. We can put you in touch with an expert who can get you started.