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Practicing Introspection

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When we enter recovery, one of the first things we learn is to become aware of the motives that drive us. We slowly begin to recognize our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, a process called introspection. We can accomplish this through the practice of mindfulness: recognizing what is going on within ourselves all throughout the day.

We begin by paying attention to our physical state at any given moment. So often, we ignore what our bodies are telling us. We don’t even recognize when we’re hungry or tired, or in a state of discomfort. You may not realize that stomach is in a knot or your jaw is clenched. Take a few deep breaths and relax.

Next, pay close attention to your thoughts and feelings. What’s going through your mind right now? Take note of whether you are comfortable content. If you’re feeling worried, anxious, irritated or depressed, ask yourself, why? By practicing introspection, we recognize that our thoughts and feelings pass away, making way for a whole new set of thoughts and feelings.

We ask ourselves: What is my motivation for doing or saying something? What am I trying to achieve? Am I seeking to understand another person’s perspective, or am I really trying to manipulate a situation to my benefit? Am I being respectful of someone else’s boundaries, and am I being respectful of my own boundaries?

We become aware of our tendency to “rehearse” things we want to say to other people. We recognize this habit as projecting. If our minds are instead rehashing old conversations, that’s an indication that we’re living in the past.

Letting our thoughts and emotions spin out of control is dangerous, because it sets us up for relapse. Without thinking, we reach for a drug or a drink as a way to calm our racing minds. By being aware of the motives for our behavior, we can avoid the danger of relapsing.

Introspection takes practice. Be patient. Before long, you’ll realize you’re becoming of aware of your thoughts, feelings, and motives, and you’ll begin to feel secure in the actions you take as a result. You’ll learn to avoid potential pitfalls and enjoy your relationships with other people along the way.

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

Practicing Introspection