Addiction is a growing epidemic in the United States causing people to lose their jobs, families, and even their lives.
Whether you or a family member is recovering from addiction to alcohol, narcotics, or prescription drugs, the journey is bound to be long and challenging.
That’s why so many people turn to treatment centers for help.
Recovering from addiction is a full-time and life-long commitment, and you’ll need all the help you can get.
Many treatment centers have recently been using a more holistic approach to recovery. They have chosen to teach their patients how to practice mindfulness and meditation as a means to recovery.
In this blog, we’ll discuss why treatment centers want you to practice mindfulness, and how it can benefit you.
An Introduction to Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice that has been around for thousands of years.
However, it has only recently been accepted in the West as a way of treating mental illnesses, including addiction.
Before we can understand how to practice mindfulness for addiction, we need to discuss the what the origin and meaning of mindfulness is.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the innate ability to become completely present and aware of where we are, what we’re doing, and how we’re feeling.
When practicing mindfulness, you will not allow your emotions to completely control you. Instead, you’ll notice that your emotions are present and accept them, while still being present and in control of your mental state.
Meditation is a common way to practice mindfulness. You will sit still and quietly, and focus on your breath so as not to let the mind wander too far away places.
Yoga is another means to practice mindfulness. You will connect the mind and body, and allow yourself to be present in the moment with only your poses and movements.
What Are the Origins of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness originated in the East thousands of years ago, as demonstrated in the scripts of both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Both of these religions practice mindfulness as a way of life, and this practice has continued for centuries in the Eastern part of the world.
In the 20th century, the teachings of mindfulness began spreading to the West, where researchers began studying the effects of meditation on mental health.
Studies were being done on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to treat mental illness.
Why Treatment Centers Practice Mindfulness
As mindfulness has become more and more accepted in the field of medicine and science, it is now a common treatment option for patients suffering from addiction.
Here, we’ll lay out the reasons why addiction treatment centers want you to practice mindfulness on your road to recovery.
One common reason people turn to drugs or alcohol is that they deal with an overwhelming amount of stress every day.
If you have a stressful job, it’s easy to come home and drink a beer or glass of whiskey to take the edge off.
However, it can easily become an issue as you start drinking more and more every week to help relieve stress.
This is where mindfulness can really help you. It has been shown in recent studies that practicing mindfulness will significantly decrease your stress levels over time.
If you can decrease your levels of stress without using drugs or alcohol, it will make your recovery easier and more manageable.
Reduces Emotional Reactivity
It has been shown that practicing mindfulness will help reduce one’s negative response to emotional stimuli.
If you’re in a stressful environment or situation, it’s easy to react in an angry manner, causing more problems to arise.
However, if you practice mindfulness, you will be more in control of your emotions, and more aware of what is happening in the moment. This will allow you to easily reflect on the situation, before acting rashly or emotionally.
Practicing mindfulness will cause patients to be more aware of their current mental state. Being present in each moment means being aware of how you are feeling and what you are thinking.
Having awareness of your mental state will allow you to recognize when you’re having negative thought patterns, and how your mind reacts to these negative thoughts.
Changing Thought Patterns
Mindfulness can help you detach negative emotions from your thoughts.
Once you become aware of your triggers, negative thought patterns, and reactions, you can begin to change how you think.
For example, you may find that speaking to a certain family member causes you to feel agitated. When this occurs, notice how you feel, and ask yourself why you feel this way.
Then whenever you speak to this person, catch yourself in a negative thought pattern and try turning it into thoughts without emotion attached to it.
You might think to yourself, ‘this particular person isn’t very nice’, but just don’t attach anger with this thought. This will greatly reduce your emotional response to negative environments.
Practicing mindfulness can be very difficult at first. You’ll need to remain quiet, still, and not allow your mind to wander. It takes dedication to become a mindful person.
Once you are mindful you’ll find your focus, concentration, and ability to withstand uncomfortable situations will be greatly improved.
If you are ever in a negative environment that may be triggering for you, it can be difficult to not become self-destructive or emotional.
However, if you remain mindful, you’ll be much better at controlling your impulses in these situations.
You’ll be able to remain in control of your emotions, and you’ll demonstrate resilience that you’d never had before you practiced mindfulness.
For Additional Info
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, consider a treatment program that offers mindfulness training.
Mindfulness is a proven holistic approach to recovery and does not require the use of additional harmful and addictive drugs like Methadone or Suboxine.
If you’re interested in joining a mindfulness-based treatment program, check out our website for more information.