Early recovery can be an especially difficult time. Adjusting to the changes that starting recovery brings can take a toll on one’s mind and emotions. Many describe this period as an emotional rollercoaster, where one minute is brimming with hope and optimism about the future, and the next is filled with doubts and feelings of isolation. It’s important to be aware of the challenges that face everyone during these early stages of recovery, and to know what tools are at your disposal where it comes to dealing with said challenges.
Some of these tools include connecting with others by attending meetings, group therapy sessions, or any other social gathering for newly sober people. Regularly attending therapy or seeing a counselor is also a good idea. Others find that the notion of service helps them get through rough patches in recovery.
A regular mindful meditation practice has become another common way to stay focused and balanced for many in recovery these days. Mindful meditation in general has been the focus of a lot of attention in recent years because of the many benefits it brings. The practice involves sitting quietly for a few minute each day and observing any thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations that arise without judgement. The notion of mindfulness comes from ancient Buddhist practices that are used to achieve enlightenment. As a person continues to practice mindfulness meditation each day, they can learn how to bring mindfulness to everything they do in their lives. The result is usually less stress, judgement, and a greater overall sense of well being.
Other benefits of practicing mindful meditation include:
-An ability to cope with and reduce levels of stress.
-Less anxiety and fear of the future.
-Minimizing depression by changing negative thought patterns.
-A greater awareness of the body and its overall health.
-Being able to manage or minimize any physical pain.
-A stronger immune system due to lowered levels of stress.
-Clearer, more efficient mental functioning that helps with decision making and concentration.
-An improved ability to manage emotions and behavior.
How can mindful meditation help those in recovery?
Mindful meditation has also proven to be a valuable tool for addiction recovery for many reasons. It can help sober people face a variety of challenges by doing some of the following:
-Managing that “emotional rollercoaster” that is so common in early recovery and that can even be a challenge for those who have been sober for years.
-Increasing awareness of any cravings that may arise and handling them appropriately.
-Increased self awareness that makes recognizing the warning signs of a relapse easier.
-Brings a greater sense of well being that makes life more enjoyable overall.
-Provides a healthy way to manage feelings of depression and anxiety that is so common during recovery.
-Makes relationships with others more harmonious overall.
How to learn and practice mindful meditation.
It’s important to keep up a regular meditation practice, whether it’s done alone or in a group. This is the only way you can begin to enjoy to enjoy the benefits. Taking a class, attending free mediation sessions, or listening to guided meditations are some good ways to begin your practice. Remember that meditation isn’t supposed to always be pleasant or easy. Sometimes there will be uncomfortable thoughts or emotions that arise. These are important challenges that must be faced and learned from.
Mindfulness can also be practiced during regular life activities, such as walking, breathing, eating, or even sex. By being more attentive of whatever is happening in the present, many say they experience a greater sense of enjoyment and notice things they had never been aware of before.