Quick question: How much of your time is spent living in the moment – or even in the day? For many people, the answer is often "not a whole lot!"
The human brain is prone to wander back into yesterday, leap ahead into tomorrow, and think about a million things other than the present. This feeling can be difficult to cope with, and even more so for people experiencing the early stages of recovery from substance use.
Fortunately, there is a tool available to help achieve a greater sense of calm, well-being, and self-awareness throughout the recovery process. This practice is called mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be broken down into three different layers to understand it best. Mindfulness is a state of mind where:
Everything that's going on at the moment can include:
Practicing mindfulness in recovery helps separate us from negative thoughts. It puts us back in the present of everyday life, where we can fully participate in and enjoy the unfolding moments. It can help us feel calmer, complete tasks more efficiently, and gain a new perspective and appreciation.
The origins of mindfulness can be traced back to the Buddhist and Hindu traditions of the East, and it was brought to the West with help from Jon Kabat-Zinn. A writer, scientist, and meditation teacher, Kabat-Zinn developed the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. This program gave rise to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a type of mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy designed to treat depression.
Mindfulness has since become more widely accepted and practiced in the West, being used to help everyone, from high-performance athletes to people seeking a clinician's help in substance use recovery programs at treatment centers.
While it would be nice if we could snap our fingers and suddenly be mindful, it doesn't work that way, at least at first. We need to build it into a regular habit, and several mindfulness practices can help.
Just like anything else in life, the more you practice mindfulness in recovery, the easier it's apt to become. When we're used to constant busyness every second of the day, sitting still for a few minutes can feel like hours – but do it anyway. Be patient with yourself. Keep on practicing. You may be surprised when the mindfulness practices start to feel like second nature, along with the calm and serenity those practices bring.
The Voices of Women in Recovery
From advocates to leaders, women have always spoken up about sobriety. For Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting the voices of women in recovery.
Jan 25, 2024
SAVE THE DATE! Moab 2024 Registration Opens March 1st!
Mark your calendars: Sign-ups for our annual Moab Retreat open on Friday, March 1st at 8am PST/11am EST! We love this event, and we want YOU to be a part of it.
Feb 19, 2024