Many addiction recovery treatment centers offer mindfulness classes for recovering individuals. Mindfulness is a holistic practice backed by scientific evidence that shows it is an effective method for treatment. Mindfulness trains people to focus on their sensations in the present moment with an attitude of acceptance and nonjudgment. The many benefits of mindfulness exercises include reducing stress, improving memory, and restoring a generally positive outlook on life.
Different Types of Mindfulness Exercises
The most common approach of mindfulness practices is known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). It combines mindfulness and yoga exercises to help people face the emotions and feelings that contribute to chronic stress. Research shows that MBSR is highly effective in treating social anxiety disorder.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is another type of emotional regulation exercise that integrates elements of mindfulness. In DBT sessions, the therapist uses mindfulness skills to help people attend to what is happening in the present moment with acceptance. Research has shown that DBT is highly effective in treating borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with MBSR, body scan exercises, or yoga. It trains people to become more aware of their own emotions and to accept them without judgment. Research shows that MBCT can be as effective as antidepressant medications when used to prevent relapse of depressive symptoms.
The Working Mechanisms of Mindfulness
What makes mindfulness work is its practices such as deep breathing, loving-kindness meditation, self-reflection, and concentration. When you practice these techniques, the brain makes structural changes that result in better interconnection and emotional regulation. This results in a general calmness and boosted mood.
Research also shows that the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and other brain areas experience heightened activity while the amygdala decreases functional activity. This means that the high-level functioning parts of the brain are more active, while the parts that produce strong emotions are less involved. As a result, the brain may experience improvement in memory retainment, sustaining attention, and cognitive flexibility.
Mindfulness Works for Everyone
In today’s hyper-connected and fast-paced world, stress and emotional health issues are very common. The benefits of mindfulness in reducing stress and regulating emotions can be helpful to people who face challenging demands in life. These include parents, educators, health professionals, veterans, political officers, and first responders. Mindfulness can also be beneficial to those suffering from terminal illnesses or mental health issues that co-occur with substance addiction.
In the workplace, mindfulness can help reduce work-related stress and improve job performance. When this practice is implemented, employees are more aware of their emotional and mental health. These can all contribute to a healthier and more productive work environment that values self-care, work-life balance, and mutual respect. Integration of mindfulness into the workplace can also make the environment more recovery-supportive.
Children and youth can also benefit from mindfulness as a self-care practice. Because their brains are still developing, mindfulness can help stabilize emotions and reduce risky behaviors among teens and adolescents. There is also a range of positive learning outcomes associated with mindfulness, including curiosity, emotional intelligence, patience, self-acceptance, self-control, and relational maturity. Mindfulness also prepares young people for challenging situations in school, such as bullying.
Mindfulness and Relationships
Practicing mindfulness may have a positive impact on your personal relationships. When you get into the habit of accepting yourself and other people’s imperfections, it is easier to navigate relationship tensions. Mental health professionals also use a technique called mindfulness-based relationship enhancement (MBRE) to help people improve relationships.
Through partner-focused loving-kindness meditation, you can practice mindful touching to regain intimacy and appreciation with your partner. With acceptance and appreciation come more compassion and empathy for others around you. Mindfulness trains you to become more sensitive to all emotional energy. With increased compassion, you are more likely to forgive others and yourself.
Apart from gaining more satisfaction from relationships, mindfulness creates a buffer from the emotional pain of relationship conflicts. Because mindfulness decreases the brain’s reactivity, it increases your resilience when faced with difficult emotions. Maintaining a calm mental state is very important in navigating relationship tensions. It also increases your ability to communicate with other people.
Practical Advice on Mindfulness Exercises
Consistency is important for mindful living. It may take weeks or months of routinely practicing mindfulness for you to experience its benefits. You do not need to invest a lot of time into practicing mindfulness, just be consistent and set aside time for it every day.
Because there is a wide variety of mindfulness practices, take the time and find the right approach for yourself. The most important thing is to concentrate on your natural breathing pattern. Notice any sensations or thoughts without judgment. If you find it difficult to maintain a consistent practice, consider finding a mindfulness coach or joining a mindfulness group. With time and patience, you will begin to enjoy this time of recuperation.
Did you know that mindfulness is beneficial for people who are going through addiction recovery? The many benefits of mindfulness exercises include reducing stress, improving memory, and restoring a generally positive outlook on life. If you’re looking for an addiction recovery center that uses mindfulness-based practices, look no further than Laguna Shores Recovery. At Laguna Shores, our team of licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists can coach and counsel you. We have a compassionate and knowlegeable team that embraces holistic treatment approaches. Meditation and mindfulness programs at our facility have helped many people maintain long-term recovery. Our full medical residential facility also offers a range of traditional treatment methods, including diagnosis, behavioral therapies, and 12-step programs. Come and join this strong recovery community. You will be supported from beginning to end. We value everyone’s voice and choice. Do not delay treatment; early intervention is key. Act today and call us at (866) 906-3203.