15 Sep How practicing mindfulness can help you in recovery
Whether you’ve been in recovery for a short or a long time, you know that it’s important to avoid triggers — they’re the easiest way to a relapse. Unfortunately, a major trigger for many people is stress. And there’s plenty to stress to go around as you’re working on your sobriety.
Stress is a biological process, and it’s hard to avoid even for those with the most balanced lifestyles. But you can minimize it by practicing mindfulness. It’s a way to help your body and mind get in tune with each other.
Clinical trials and other research have shown that mindfulness can be an effective approach to preventing relapse. It works by increasing awareness of triggers and destructive habits, and then helping you respond in a beneficial way instead of reacting in detrimental ways.
At its most basic level, mindfulness is a way for you to detect your thoughts and your emotions without reacting hastily. Think of it like a detached observer, researcher, detective or journalist who’s simply writing down facts.
While you understand the emotions that you are observing, you are giving yourself an opportunity to pause instead of automatically responding. It doesn’t mean you’re not feeling the emotion. It simply means you are giving yourself the choice of how to respond.
You can learn to practice mindfulness through yoga and meditation, or you can learn some exercises on your own. Take a community class (some community centers offer very inexpensive options), browse online communities and resources for information on how to get started, or think back to the techniques you’ve learned at Olalla during your treatment.
The goal of mindfulness is to break that link between your cravings or triggers and addiction. You’re not creating a substitution for negative behavior but rather you’re learning to understand your body better and how to respond when negative behaviors rear their heads. The more you practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes.
Not sure where to get started? The staff at Olalla Recovery Centers can help you with referrals and resources. Get in touch with us.