Everyone at one point or another feels weighed down with negative thoughts and internal or external stressors in our day-to-day lives. However, the practice of mindfulness aims to provide an opportunity to put our minds at ease and focus on being in the present moment.
But what are the true benefits of practicing mindfulness – especially as it relates to recovery? The reality is that mindfulness and recovery can be very closely intertwined, and recovery can often be made more successful by including mindfulness as an active, daily effort.
What are some noticeable benefits of practicing mindfulness?
Mindfulness can improve impulse control by improving the function of the prefrontal cortex. Your ability to “pause,” as taught in the 11th step, will improve. These changes can even be immediate, but practice needs to be consistent if permanent changes are to be made.
Mindfulness can improve one’s ability to manage cravings and triggers by increasing present moment awareness so that you can practice relapse prevention in the moment rather than when you notice that you are really in trouble. If you are practicing loving kindness meditation, it can improve your relationships with others so that you are more helpful and supportive in your recovery relationships.
How does recovery from substance use disorder and mental health go together?
Most people either begin drinking or using to manage their emotions, and eventually keep doing it because it makes them feel better. This need to feel comfortable is a natural human drive that exists without our awareness most of the time. This means that recovery from substance use and mental health must happen together for the best possible chance at success.
Mindfulness is an important tool for regulating emotions, so it can ultimately assist with recovery from substance use. There are also specific practices that can help detoxify the body from both mental and physical effects of substances that will aid in overall recovery. Ultimately, recovery that does not include a focus on improving mental health will not be successful long term.
How can mindfulness connect us more to our bodies?
The body is a powerful tool that most of us are not using to its fullest potential. Mindfulness can improve the connection between your mind, body, and spirit. Cravings and emotions show up on the body before we are thinking about them. Most of us, however, are not aware of these body sensations, and realize we are triggered, craving, or emotional when it gets in our head and becomes harder to fight.
Spend some time thinking about what it feels like on your body when you have emotions, cravings, or triggers. You can train yourself to notice these sensations and then practice some mindfulness or relapse prevention before it becomes too difficult to talk yourself out of how you are feeling.
There are many more benefits that come from incorporating a bit of mindfulness into your daily routine – and it can become a great tool for success in your recovery by helping improve your mental health. Keeping your mental health in check and reconnecting with your mind daily can help yield long-lasting, life-improving results.
About Fellowship Hall
For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.