Anxiety is a highly occurring dual diagnosis mental health disorder with substance abuse. To calm the nerves and anxiety attacks which come with an anxiety disorder, many turn to substances. Substances such as drugs and alcohol can create euphoric sensations when abused, offering those suffering from anxiety disorders a relief.

mindfulness winter anxiety

In addition, certain substances can depress the mind, slowing down anxiety and allowing one to feel as though they are their “normal” selves. Overtime, substance cease to work in the same way. Cravings and symptoms of withdrawal eventually create more anxiety.

Recovery for anxiety and co-occurring substance use disorders integrates the use of multiple therapeutic methods as well as spiritual tools. Anxiety can be managed when treated properly and when a member is given the right tools to use. One effective tool for anxiety and emotional regulation is mindfulness and mindfulness based practices.

The winter season is full of tantalizing smells, sights, and sounds. Mindfulness practices using the senses can help calm anxiety attacks. During an anxious moment or an anxiety attack, use deep breathing and being to mindfully notice the winter world around you, using your senses.


  • Find five things you can see.
  • First, notice what you see around you. What are the colors, shapes, and textures? What do the sights remind you of?
  • Next, close your eyes, see what plays out in your mind, only noticing it and not giving it too much attention.


  • Find four things you can touch around you
  • If there aren’t objects nearby, touch four different parts of your body
  • Notice how things feel. Are they rough or are they smooth. Are they hard or are they soft? Does the feel remind you of anything?


  • Find three things you can hear
  • What sounds do you hear? First, listen for the most obvious sounds. After taking a deep breath see if you can find any subtle sounds around you.


  • Find two smells around you.
  • Does it smell like winter? What does winter smell like to you? Is it the snow in the air or the scent of hot chocolate? Do your clothes smell like a warm fire or your favorite winter scents?


  • Find one taste to focus on.
  • Do you have a favorite winter taste? What is your favorite winter treat?


Aurora Recovery Centre offers dual diagnosis treatment for men and women seeking recovery from both substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Our programs are designed to help you heal in mind, body, and spirit. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.


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