For addicts and alcoholics in recovery or treatment mindfulness is a hugely beneficial practice. Numerous studies have proven that mindfulness reduces stress, helps regulate mood and emotion, as well as has positive impact on the heart. Mindfulness in addiction recovery helps to curb relapses and cravings by becoming aware of the deeper meaning to stressful situations.
Learning to practice mindfulness takes some time, but it is more simple than how people tend to complicate it. The core of a spiritual mindfulness practice is about noticing. If you think about how often you notice things, you might be surprised when you notice that you hardly notice anything at all. Brains are full of depression, anxiety, worry, obsession, and very loud chatter. Inherently self-centered, humans mostly go through their day without noticing much at all. Have you ever experienced driving home only to realize you aren’t sure how you got there? Or eating when you aren’t really hungry? Reacting in a way to something someone said in a way you know better than to act in? By practicing mindfulness all of these impulsive reactions get slowed down. Mindfulness brings attention to the present moment, to the here and now, which increases focus, heightens awareness and creates deep feelings of peace.
Mistakenly, people believe mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand. Furthermore, people tend to think that mindful meditation, for which there is a practice, requires sitting still. In today’s world, people are busier than ever. The philosophy goes, if you are too busy to practice mindfulness then you are in the greatest need of practicing it!
Mindfulness can be practiced all day long in every day situations. Here are some of the unsuspecting areas you can practice mindfulness today:
Let’s be honest, a good shower can be a spiritual experience. Many of us use shower time to think about things going on in our lives. Instead, focus your attention on the water hitting your skin, and how it relaxes your body. See if you can tell the difference in your muscle tension as the water heats up. As you use your favorite soaps, notice how the smell makes you feel or what memories it brings up. You’ll find gratitude in every moment of your showering experience.
It is easy to zone out when stuck in traffic or driving a familiar route. Rather than losing attention, focus it more sharply on the world around you. Have you ever paid attention to the vegetation that lines your street or the character of the retail signs on top of shops? Perhaps there is someone on a corner who you’ve never bothered noticing before. You might find things in your everyday routes that you never knew were there.
Standing in line, waiting on the phone, sitting at a drive-through…how did we keep ourselves busy during these times before the handy use of our smart devices? Don’t use every moment of downtime to get lost in the scroll of your newsfeed on social media. Focus on your breath and being where you are. Take time to recognize how uncomfortable you might be with sitting still and having to wait. You might find that you have a strong urge for instant gratification and expel a lot of energy on getting frustrated when you don’t get what you want right away.
Aurora Recovery Center includes spiritual development of part of its core curricula for treating addiction, mental health, and eating disorders. We believe that there is wisdom and practicality in spiritual practice. For more information on our levels of treatment offered to men and women seeking recovery, call 844-515-STOP