For an individual to heal from substance use disorder (SUD), a treatment program or residential facility must focus on every aspect of a person for effective healing. SUD is not only about the abuse of substances but also about the potentially preexisting biological and environmental factors that lead to the abuse of substances.
A treatment program must offer therapies to heal the mind and a holistic approach to healing the mind and body together. Substance abuse treatment is accomplished first by detoxing the body of drugs or alcohol. After this, a person participates in individual and group therapies to help heal the reasons for their addiction. This is done because a person’s disorder is not just due to addiction in the brain, but the disorder includes the body as well.
What Is the Mind-Body Connection?
Research shows that our minds and bodies are connected. By experiencing negative emotions like stress, a body cannot heal or protect itself as it normally should. Negative emotions alter the function of white blood cells. White blood cells protect the body from infections. If their functions are altered, then the cells cannot protect against things like cancer or the flu. If a body is constantly fighting off infections, the body cannot function properly. This will get in the way of thinking, energy, and motivation to participate in your life.
Best Practices for an Improved Mind-Body Connection
While beginning substance abuse treatment, a person starts working on their mind-body connection by detoxing and joining therapy groups. However, to actively work on healing your mind-body connection, you must intentionally do things throughout your days and weeks. Here are ten best practices to begin restoring your mind-body connection.
#1. Acts of Self Love
Cognitive distortion commonly plagues people diagnosed with SUD. They are irrational thoughts that invade a person’s mind. These thoughts usually cause a person to perceive themselves or their world inaccurately.
To combat cognitive distortions, especially about yourself and your worth, you must do small acts of self-love to reteach yourself. Activities such as self-praises or rewards for accomplished goals, even small ones like making your bed, help you learn to like and eventually love yourself.
It is no secret that exercise improves mental health. By moving your body, you release chemicals in the brain that trigger emotions of enjoyment or satisfaction.
For people with mental health disorders or SUDs, exercise can be a good distraction from overwhelming thoughts or emotions. When emotions are too much, it can trigger someone to want to drink or use. However, when a person uses exercise to help their mind, they can distract themselves and return to their emotions and thoughts when ready.
#3. Drink and Eat Well
If your body is not taken care of, your mind will not be able to process properly. When the mind is exhausted from making up for the lack of energy from proper nutrition, it cannot process emotions or trigger events well. Therefore, people must feed and hydrate themselves to restore a healthy mind-body connection.
SUDs and other mental health disorders, such as depression, can make it hard to care of yourself. When you are deep in your addiction, you tend to lack the ability to feed yourself properly, let alone floss your teeth regularly or remember to bathe. The same can be said when someone is in a deep depression; they tend to lack the motivation to care for their hygiene.
#5. Social Connections
It is important for anyone’s mental health to have social interactions and connections with others. Being at home with yourself and your thoughts constantly can lead to developing a dual diagnosis. People need others for help and sometimes just for distraction. Social connections lead to a healthier mind, leading to better body health.
#6. Emotional Regulation
Mindfulness-based substance abuse treatment focuses on the regulation of emotions and distress tolerance. Focusing on the emotions you experience can help heal your body and mind.
#7. Positive Environment
For a healthy mind-body connection, you must be in a safe and healthy environment to exist and heal. If you are trying to improve your negative thoughts surrounded by people who have emotionally abused you, you will not be able to heal. Finding and creating a positive environment can help restore your mind and body.
#8. Creative Outlets
Just as people need exercise for healthy physical outlets, you also need creative outlets to exercise your mind. By participating in creative outlets like crochet, painting, model building, or embroidery, you can get out of your thoughts and potentially relieve feelings like anger or stress.
#9. Relieving Stressors
Many ways to have a healthy body focus on creating a peaceful and calm mind. Another best practice for restoring mind-body connection is to relieve stressors from your life, like negative relationships, poor money management, or broken appliances.
Finally, to create your best healthy self, you must have boundaries. For example, if you do not limit how much people can ask for your help, you may begin to feel used. If you start feeling used, this may prompt negative self-feelings or cognitive distortions like, “I’m not worth anything.” Instead, by setting boundaries, you teach people how to treat you.
Are you struggling with constant, unexplained body pains? Do you find that you are exhausted without doing anything? Did you previously have a good immune system, but now you can’t go a month without getting sick? Your body will suffer when your mind is not properly taken care of. At Laguna Shores Recovery Center, our staff prioritizes holistic healing to restore the mind-body connection for the most effective treatment. By exploring what led you to abuse substances in the first place, you can find relief for your body’s symptoms through our variety of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), 12-Step programs, experiential therapy, and more substance-specific programs. Call us today at (866) 229-9923 to learn more.