Professionals in the recovery and psychology fields often incorporate the practice of mindfulness therapy. However, it wasn’t always so commonly used. It’s only with recent research on the brain that scientists and experts have uncovered the incredible benefits of mindfulness.
And these benefits are important in recovery from addiction.
Mindfulness And Recovery From Addiction
Mindfulness is the experience of being aware of what’s going on within and around you on a moment to moment basis. In a state of mindfulness, a person is not judging what is happening, but simply being an observer of their internal and external experience.
One of the most important benefits of mindfulness is this growing awareness. As a person continues to practice, they may begin to notice that they have unhealthy thoughts, make harmful choices, or that they behave in ways that sabotage their own experience. Of course, you don’t have to be practicing mindfulness to recognize these things in yourself. However, as you continue to become more aware of yourself, you might begin to make connections between triggers and behavior, thoughts and feelings, or between past experiences and your choices now.
For instance, perhaps you’ve always known that you tend to sabotage your own progress when things are going well. With mindfulness, you might recognize that you sabotage success because you believe that you’re not worthy of success. With mindfulness you might catch certain thoughts you have that reflect this unworthiness. With mindfulness, you might be able to immediately stop yourself in the middle of one of those thoughts.
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Simple Mindfulness Exercises
Essentially, mindfulness can bring us deeper and deeper into ourselves and facilitate healing from the inside out. If you’re interested in boosting your ability to be mindful, here are some suggestions for making mindfulness a part of your everyday experience:
One Minute Mindfulness: Get out a clock or watch so that you can monitor the passing of one minute. During this one minute, your task is to focus all of your attention on your breathing. If anything enters your field of attention, continue to return to the breath. Do this for one minute every day – or as often throughout the day as you like.
Mindful Eating: The next time you eat a meal, make sure the television is off as well as the radio, phone, iPad, or anything other piece of technology that might pull your attention away from your meal. Sit down with your meal and take note that you are going to begin a period of mindful eating. Now eat your meal as you pay full attention to the details of your experience. Notice the color, texture, and scent of your food. As you place it in your mouth, experience the flavor of your food fully. Pay attention to the muscles you use to raise the fork or spoon to your mouth and the experience of having food in your mouth. You may notice that your experience of eating is incredibly different when eating a meal in this way.
Mindful Walking: Just as you paid close attention to your eating, do the same while you are walking. Notice your feet touching the ground. Identify the different parts of your feet touching the ground as you lift and then place your foot in front of you. You may also want to pay attention to the trees, flowers, and people passing by.
These are suggestions for bringing mindfulness into your everyday experience. As mentioned above, mindfulness can increase your awareness, and in turn, facilitate better choices and healthy living.