Most people who are recovering from an addiction tend to accumulate a “grab-bag” of tools and tricks they use to help them stay sober from day to day. What works for some people doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, so for any given person, their grab-bag typically has a different assortment of tools, depending on what they find most useful. One tool that can be useful for many recovering addicts is a simple but powerful way of thinking called mindfulness.
What exactly is mindfulness? It’s mostly about living with awareness and acceptance. For example, being aware of what’s going on in the present, rather than fixating on the past or worrying about the future; making deliberate choices about your words and actions rather than saying and doing without really thinking; and paying attention to your interactions with others.
Mindfulness is a simple concept, but it’s one that seems hard to implement in day-to-day life. But it can help to approach it in the same way as you’d approach trying to get in shape: by starting out a little at a time, and gradually working your way up. For example, if you’re attempting to live more mindfully you might start out by picking one or two specific tasks each day, such as showering or eating breakfast, and approach them with a mindful mindset. You might then continue with daily meditation, a practice that is particularly beneficial for developing a mindful way of thinking that can provide a wide range of benefits.
How can mindfulness help a recovering addict? One way is by allowing them to develop a more detached and non-judgmental attitude towards their addiction and recovery. Mindful meditation and other practices can help a recovering addict be more self-observant, allowing them to detect internal and external cues that trigger their desire to drink or use drugs, and helping them to avoid acting on those triggers.
Of course, this does not necessarily have to simply apply to anyone recovering from an addiction, or anyone who is suffering from any other form of mental health problem whether that be depression or anxiety, or other conditions. Mindfulness is something that can be practiced by anyone who simply wants to improve their overall feelings of health and well-being. Mindfulness can also help you to breathe happy, to be at one and at peace with not only yourself, but the world around you and the ones you love. Once you have recovered, or are well on your journey towards wellness after addiction, continuing to use these techniques can really help you to stay in the moment and focus on what is most important to you. Mindfulness can be a useful tool for all.
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons. Commercial Use Allowed.