What Is Mindfulness In Recovery?
You may hear of mindfulness in recovery. Just like “addiction,” the word “mindfulness” connotes certain idea in the mind. In his book 10% Happier, ABC journalist Dan Harris wrote that mindfulness had a negative PR problem. Some words carry unpleasant baggage. But this unpleasant baggage lies more within us than it does the thing itself.
We derive our English word mindfulness from the Pali term sati. Its context includes ideas of becoming aware and paying attention. We hear the word “mindfulness” often. If we hear a word too much, we lose sight of its genuine meaning. It becomes so commonplace that we don’t think deeply about it.
In this article, you will learn:
• What is mindfulness, really?
• What benefits does mindfulness offer?
• What is the relationship between mindfulness and meditation in recovery?
• How does meditation in recovery benefit me?
• Where do I get more information about mindfulness in recovery?
What Is Mindfulness, Really?
Sometimes life feels out of control. With all this stress, who wouldn’t want a little relief? We must not marvel at the fact that people consume drugs to ease suffering. Anyone would want access to an easy way to allay anxiety or depression.
Anxiety and depression can make us sense that our thoughts control us. Our emotions seem to suck us into a whirlpool. They flood us and carry us whichever way they wish. Mindfulness can help to throw a wrench in this seemingly automatic process.
Mindfulness gives us a new skill – thinking about our own thoughts. Research refers to this ability as metacognition. At its foundation, metacognition involves paying attention to what happens inside our minds. It offers us a chance to observe our thoughts. In doing so, metacognition shows us that we can choose not to go where our thoughts lead.
What Benefits Does Mindfulness Offer?
Our minds churn out thoughts. We sift through them, as though panning for mental gold. We find none. And yet we continue churning, dredging, and examining to exhaustion. We call this purposeless mental process “rumination.” Practicing mindfulness can help us cut down on ruminating.
Mindfulness has found its way into therapeutic treatment programs for anxiety and depression. Furthermore, mindfulness may benefit us physically as well. This study indicated a positive correlation between mindfulness and the immune system. The American Heart Association recommends mindfulness for decreasing risks of cardiovascular ailments.
Think these examples just provide anecdotal evidence? Fair enough. Consider the research of scientists like Gaëlle Desbordes. She researched the brains of meditators, primarily studying the amygdala. We use the amygdala when we feel and when we make decisions. Desbordes’ research used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this study, Desbordes found that amygdalas of meditators shrank.
What does this mean for ordinary folks out in the real world? It means concrete evidence exists. This evidence supports the conclusion that meditation frees us from the bondage of our emotions. Meditation puts us in a position to regulate our own feelings.
What Is The Relationship Between Mindfulness And Meditation In Recovery
Mindfulness equips us to think about our thoughts. It teaches us to focus our attention on what happens inside our heads. Think of mindfulness like a skill. We can learn skills. You learned how to read. You took the training wheels off your bicycle and learned to ride. Compare that idea to mindfulness. With practice, you get better at it.
Meditation in recovery offers one opportunity to strengthen the skill of mindfulness. Emptying the mind of all thought ought not to become our goal. Such a lofty standard remains unattainable and doesn’t represent a useful goal. Instead, meditation helps us recognize thoughts as they pass. It puts us in a watchtower over our own inner lives.
In our mental watchtower, we perceive thoughts passing us. But we needn’t follow the thoughts. We don’t have to go with them. We can choose to stay rooted to our vantage point. From there, we can watch thoughts pass into the distance. Meanwhile, we continue to anchor ourselves to something solid.
Sounds Great. But What Does That Look Like In Real Life?
Let us consider a practical application to apply mindfulness and meditation. Gwen recently enrolled in treatment for substance use disorder. She consumes opioids to help her anxiety. Gwen experiences a strained, counterproductive relationship with her mother. A harsh critic, Gwen’s mother chides her for her life choices. Her mother’s remarks make Gwen feel anxious.
Through meditation, Gwen realizes that she cannot control her mother. Gwen gleans that she does not bear the responsibility of satisfying her mother’s standards. Gwen has no obligation to make her mother happy. Gwen’s responsibilities and obligations lie only with Gwen herself.
Gwen becomes mindful of these ideas beyond her meditation sessions. She might continue to feel anxiety, even when just thinking about her mother. However, mindfulness puts some distance between Gwen and her anxious thoughts. She can look at them without judgment. And she can decide not to follow them. She can release them to go where they please. And Gwen remains rooted and grounded in her insight.
How Does Meditation In Recovery Benefit Me?
To think of sobriety as the goal of recovery does recovery a disservice. It further dishonors those making the journey toward recovery. Midwood Addiction Treatment values wholeness as the goal of recovery. Recovery works in tiny steps that build into a lifetime. Sobriety appears as just one of those tiny steps.
Mindfulness helps you look under the hood of your life. It requires you to stop. To be still and sit with your problems, challenges, and choices. The process might feel uncomfortable or unpleasant We won’t deny that. But you cannot restore your life if you do not examine it. You cannot find a solution if you will not become aware of the problem.
I Need More Information On Mindfulness In Recovery
In this article, we perused mindfulness in recovery. We asked, “what is mindfulness?” Even further, we looked at meditation in recovery and discovered how it can help us.
If you’d like more information on mindfulness in recovery, let Midwood Addiction Treatment know! You’re already holding your phone. Tap the “call” button and talk to us. Not comfortable with that idea? Complete the contact form to shoot us an email.