In recovery, one of the most powerful tools we learn is mindfulness. With practice, we learn to be aware of our feelings, our physical state, our thoughts, and our surroundings. We also become aware of our addictive triggers, so we’re able to avoid a relapse.
We practice mindfulness by first becoming aware of the world within us: We heed what our bodies are telling us at any given moment. Ask yourself: Are you hungry, tired, or in pain? Are your muscles tight with stress and your fists clenched tightly? What about your mouth: Is it resting in a smile, or twisted into a scowl? These physical cues are indications of our feelings and our general state. The simple act of recognizing the tension in our shoulders is often all it takes for us to relax. Breathing deeply and slowly, both in and out, several times is a great way to “reset” ourselves in any situation.
We also pay close attention to our feelings throughout the day. Are you at ease and content at this moment? Are you depressed, worried, or feeling sorry for yourself? Are you resentful, irritated, impatient, or angry? By practicing mindfulness, we recognize that feelings come and go, just like the weather: Whatever emotion we’re experiencing in the moment will soon pass and make way for another one. It’s important not to judge our feelings, but merely to acknowledge them.
When we find ourselves having imaginary conversations with others, practicing what we’ll say to someone and what they’ll say in return, it’s time to return to the present moment and let go of our projections about the future. If our minds are instead replaying past conversations that didn’t unfold to our liking, that’s a cue let go of the past and, again, return to the moment.
Mindfulness takes practice. It’s important to be patient with yourself as you learn to identify, then release, your sensations, thoughts and feelings. We learn that by paying careful attention and staying in the moment, we can head off problems before they become unmanageable. What’s more, we learn to appreciate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures in ways we never could before.
Change happens one step at a time. Design For Change is a full continuum of care options providing the hope that is promised in recovery. As a refuge for addicts seeking change, our residential programs help change lives. Call us today for information: (877) 267-3646