Mindfulness is a sense of awareness that has historically been used in meditation practices. When a person is mindful, they are observant of their surroundings, their inner experiences, and how they respond to what is happening in the moment.
The purpose of mindfulness is to be aware of what you are presently experiencing without becoming attached to the experience. It requires a degree of self-discipline to focus only on the present moment, not the past or future.
Mindfulness And Addiction
Connecting addiction and mindfulness can seem confusing, but breaking mindfulness down into simpler concepts can make it more clear.
Practicing mindfulness works to slow things down, calm the inner chatter, connect us to a more tranquil day-to-day experience.
When people abuse substances, they are usually trying to escape reality. Mindfulness teaches one to be present and enjoy reality instead.
Mindfulness offers a calm that opens a person up to being more observant of their environment. When a person starts to experience pleasure from the beauty and joy in the world, they are less likely to seek addictive substances to escape.
Another way mindfulness can help is by allowing you to focus on yourself and your reactions to situations in your life.
Learning to understand yourself and how you respond can be the gateway to letting things go and opening a door to learning better coping strategies.
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There are specific areas of skill that mindfulness focuses on. Some of these skills include:
- being non-judgmental
- loving/kindness attitude
Being able to observe what is happening around you and within you, describing those observations, and recognizing how you feel about it all are important skills when practicing mindfulness.
Participating in activities without being self-conscious and being able to trust yourself to do what works, instead of doubting yourself, are also helpful.
Recognizing when you are acting without thinking can offer insight into problematic relapse triggers and how to stop them.
A key element of mindfulness includes the development of loving-kindness and acceptance, for yourself and others.
Removing the critical attitude people often have with themselves and others can give someone a deeper appreciation for the good in people that can be overlooked.
Mindfulness And Relapse Prevention
One of the biggest concerns surrounding substance abuse and treatment is the question, “will rehab work?” Research is emerging that strongly links mindfulness strategies to relapse prevention.
Evidence suggests that substance abuse is linked to dysregulation of areas of the brain that control reward, pleasure, and executive function. Mindfulness therapy can produce therapeutic effects on these areas of the brain to help prevent relapse.
Mindfulness At Swift River
In Massachusetts, Swift River offers mindfulness therapy as part of our substance abuse treatment program.
Combined with other self-awareness activities, like yoga and meditation, practicing mindfulness every day can root you in to your recovery journey in a deeper way.
The trained staff at Swift River works with you, creating an individualized treatment plan that offers evidence- and outcome-based treatments to provide comprehensive substance abuse treatment. Learn more by contacting us today.
- Addiction Science & Clinical Practice — Mindfulness-based treatment of addiction: current state of the field and envisioning the next wave of research
- Substance Abuse — Mindfulness-based therapies for Substance Use Disorders: Part 1 (Editorial)
- Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation — Mindful meditation in the treatment of substance abuse disorders and preventing future relapse: neurocognitive mechanisms and clinical implications