One of the crucial steps you’ll take in your recovery from addiction is handling triggers like stress, anxiety, worry and sadness. These feelings contribute to the roots of substance abuse, and can lead to relapse if not properly controlled.
The good news is you can control these negative emotions and feelings by practicing a technique called mindfulness meditation. The focus of this meditation is to stay in the present moment. This stops your thoughts from jumping to issues that will cause worry, doubt or fear. This alternative therapy is used in addiction rehab programs, and you can learn how to use it in three easy steps.
1) Find a Comfortable Spot to Meditate
Mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere, whether you are at work, the office or the gym. A quiet location is ideal and may be best when first learning. Once you have some practice, it’s easier to meditate in other locations with your newly honed skills.
Once you have your location, find a comfortable and relaxed position that’s easy to maintain. Try a couch, floor pillow or a comfy seat. Once you’ve settled in, it’s key to be centered. Bring your awareness within, and focus on being present in the moment. Avoid thoughts about the past, and don’t worry about the future.
2) Observe Your Breathing
Now that you are seated comfortably and centered, it’s time to pay attention to your breathing. Observe your breathing as you effortlessly inhale and exhale. Stay mindful of the ease of your breathing, how it gradually builds up in your lungs as you inhale, and the release you feel as you exhale. You can close your eyes, but leave them open if it makes it easier for you to focus.
3) Observe Your Mind
While traditional meditation recommends clearing your mind of thoughts, mindfulness meditation does not. With mindfulness meditation, its focus is on your thoughts, senses and feelings. The difference is to avoid chasing after your thoughts of anticipating the future or revisiting past memories.
Your goal is to simply observe thoughts, release them and return to where you are in the present. By doing so, you eliminate the judgements and apprehensions that determine your state of mind. Rather than following thoughts to dark places where anxiety, worry, sadness and the resulting stress occur, you’re acknowledging your thoughts, dismissing them and bringing your mind back to the present moment.
You aren’t trying to pause your thinking, you are simply becoming fully present in the “now” by bringing your attention to where you are sitting. Focus on how it feels to be seated, the feel of the chair or cushion beneath you, and the ground below. Feel the temperature around you, sounds you hear and other impressions of your environment. Bring your attention to your body’s sensations. Take these moments to revel in your breathing, your being and becoming fully present with yourself right at this time.
As you practice, you’ll be able to do this anywhere. You’ll become fully aware of yourself folding the laundry, taking a brisk walk or washing the floor.
Your goal is to become the observer in your perspective, rather than having the perspective of being in your head. This brings you into the “now”, where you can experience the fullness of your being and the present moment.
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