Today, we will be discussing the power of mindfulness practices in enhancing recovery.
I enjoy mindful moments during the day e.g., in the morning and evening I brush my teeth with my non-dominant hand and that simple change takes me off “auto-pilot”, slows me down and allows me to focus. I also do some mindful breathing before bed and when I do, I sleep better and am more refreshed the next day. I’ve chosen a picture for todays post that depicts the normal rushing about we do on autopilot and is the opposite I guess of mindfulness.
More generally, I don’t feel qualified to talk authoritatively on mindfulness per sè, so I have sought some help via a new AI phenomenon, https://openai.com/ (or chat-gpt as it’s more commonly known). I’ve used AI for other projects and to varying degrees in my other posts in this Lent series. I see it as another tool in the box that helps me get everything I can from everything I have. I’ve put a link above so give it a try.
Anyway, back to Mindfulness:
What is it?
• Mindfulness practice is a form of meditation that involves paying attention to the present moment, without judgment or distraction. It can be done in various ways, such as by focusing on the breath, body sensations, or sounds in the environment. (And in my case while brushing my teeth or sometimes by concentrating on my breathing just before bed)
Where did it originate?
• Mindfulness practice originated from Buddhist meditation practices, particularly those found in the Theravada tradition. Mindfulness was developed as a way to cultivate inner peace and reduce suffering caused by negative thoughts and emotions.
Why do people do it?
• You don’t have to be a Buddhist to practice mindfulness, and today, mindfulness has become a popular practice in Western countries, where it is often used as a way to manage stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. People also practice mindfulness to improve their overall well-being, increase their focus and concentration, and enhance their relationships.
As a person in recovery from addiction, incorporating mindfulness practice into our recovery journey can offer many benefits.
Here are a few:
• Increased awareness and self-reflection:
Mindfulness practice can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. This awareness can allow you to notice when you are experiencing cravings or triggers for substance use, and to respond in a healthier way. It can also help you recognize patterns in your thinking and behaviour that may be contributing to your addiction.
• Improved emotional regulation:
Addiction often involves using substances as a way to cope with difficult emotions. Mindfulness practice can help you develop skills to manage your emotions more effectively, reducing the need for substance use as a coping mechanism. This can include techniques like observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment, practicing self-compassion, and cultivating a greater sense of emotional balance.
• Reduced stress and anxiety:
Stress and anxiety are common triggers for substance use, and they can also make recovery more challenging. Mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, helping you stay calmer and more centred during challenging times.
• Improved overall well-being:
Addiction can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Mindfulness practice can help you improve your overall well-being by promoting relaxation, reducing negative thinking patterns, and increasing feelings of peace and contentment.
Overall, incorporating mindfulness practice into your recovery journey can be a powerful tool for developing greater self-awareness, emotional regulation, and overall well-being. It can help you stay focused on your recovery goals and stay on track during challenging times.