The practice of mindfulness can help us master and restore ourselves. The Miracle of Mindfulness, quoted by an article in Clinical Psychology Review, teaches us about mindfulness through the image of a magician cutting his body into many parts and placing each part in a different region before reassembling the parts into his body, which is newly intact. It concludes, “Mindfulness is like that—it is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.”
Practicing mindfulness can have many psychological benefits, including subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms, and improved behaviors. Common forms of psychological distress like anxiety, worry, fear, anger, and depression tend to involve maladaptive tendencies to suppress, avoid, or over-engage. Mindfulness has been found to be a helpful remedy for these because of its main elements, which support awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance of the present moment.
Meditation is a practice in which a technique like mindfulness is used to train levels of attention and awareness. It is a great way to achieve a mentally clear, calm, and stable state. The more an individual practices being in a state of meditation, the more mindful they become. Symptoms of anxiety and depression can be managed better through consistent meditation time, as it is a healthy and effective form of coping.
How Do You Introduce Mindfulness and Meditation Into Your Life?
If you are someone who has never before intentionally meditated or even brought your attention to your level of mindfulness, it can be difficult to know where to start. Rest assured, no one starts as a Zen master. Everyone begins somewhere, and small steps create large changes. Once you begin to incorporate these changes, the best way to maintain them is to include them into your daily life in a way that works for you.
Begin by including meditation in your weekly routine. Set a goal to meditate at least once a week for only five minutes.
Of course, you may have no idea how to accomplish this because you don’t know what to do during those five minutes. Initially, meditating may feel difficult or even aggravating because you are attempting to bring yourself into a state you’re not used to. Remind yourself that it will get easier with practice. For now, just focus on your breathing when you meditate, as this can help you quiet the mind and achieve a more mindful state.
Quiet the Mind and Increase Awareness
Aim to focus solely on your breathing and nothing else for five minutes straight. Whenever you notice your mind begin to shift elsewhere, try to bring it back to your breath.
Before you begin, bring your awareness to what your breathing feels like. Is it steady, slow, fast, or heavy? Then when you are finished, check in with yourself again and notice any differences you may feel. This form of meditation is great for beginners, and it truly helps with learning how to quiet the mind, which can be one of the hardest parts for individuals beginning meditation practices. This is also a good initial step to use before moving into body-scan meditations, as you are increasing awareness of sensations within your body.
The more you practice something, the more skilled you become at it, which makes it essential to be consistent with meditation and make it a part of your routine. The goal is to get to a point of calmness that you can return to in times of psychological or emotional distress. When you are able to achieve a mindful state, you will be able to use meditation to soothe yourself through the present moment and find relief from negative symptoms or emotions. In a mindful state, you are able to sit back, observe your thoughts and feelings, understand them, and go from a reactive mode to a responsive one. Mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand, so the more you practice one, the more in tune you will become with the other.
Frequent and regular practice should cultivate lasting changes in mindfulness even when an individual is not currently engaging in a meditation practice.
Mindfulness-Based Addiction Treatment
Studies show that mindfulness-based interventions reduce substance misuse and craving due to modulating processes involved with self-regulation and reward processing. Mindfulness practices have been found to increase one’s ability to remain nonreactive, accept thoughts of distress, and observe one’s experiences, including one’s internal emotions and innate reactions. Therefore, they can help people stop engaging in addictive behaviors.
Enhanced cognitive control is inversely associated with substance use and intense cravings since addiction may be characterized as mindlessness (habitual activities executed automatically or without someone’s will). It is no wonder, then, that mindfulness can be an effective aspect of recovery from substance abuse.
Being mindful of your automatic reactions, both emotional and behavioral, allows for greater self-regulation of habitual addictive behaviors. An increased state of mindfulness and present moment awareness can act as a barrier to mindless behaviors. Many mindfulness-based interventions are administered through group therapies, and personal internal work is encouraged outside of treatments and groups.
449 Recovery is a treatment center that focuses on using a whole-person approach with clients. We place an emphasis on treating the mind, body, and soul through therapies and interventions. Addiction is a disorder characterized by mindlessness. Therefore, practices that increase mindfulness and awareness can counteract tendencies to indulge in addictive behaviors. Learning healthy coping mechanisms and strategies to improve cognitive function and control can help you overcome maladaptive coping methods, including addiction. Meditation is a practice that helps you produce mental changes through observation of internal and external reactions. Those new to meditation may find it frustrating at first, but with guidance, meditation gradually becomes a natural part of one’s routines and everyday life. Consistency is key when it comes to practicing mindfulness and meditation. Call 449 Recovery today at (949) 435-7449 to find out more about treatments that address coping skills with a holistic emphasis.