How Mindfulness Positively Impacts Our Psyche
When people think of mindfulness, they often focus on meditative techniques or mental states. Although meditation is one type of mindfulness practice, mindfulness can be achieved in a variety of ways. It is essential to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routines because it holds a variety of benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. It is crucial for addiction recovery and overall well-being because it causes you to be entirely focused on the present moment and the benefits of your recovery.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be best described as complete and total awareness of the present moment through total acceptance and non-judgment of your thoughts and your surroundings. If you are in the workforce, you are probably used to your habitual routine. You know when to wake up, when to eat, what to do at work, and what happens when you return home. Living mindfully means that you are not living on this “autopilot,” and instead, you are actively engaging with each moment as it unfolds before you. It is easy to get caught up in your routines, so much so that it is common to live without truly being present. Mindfulness teaches us to find value and appreciation instead of dwelling on the past or getting anxious about inevitable stressful life situations to come.
What is incredible about mindfulness is that you do not necessarily have to set aside time to put it to work. Mindfulness can be accomplished anywhere, at any time. A great goal would be to try to live as mindfully as you can, so it can be as conditioned into your mind as much as your typical work routine once was.
What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
Most of our lives are spent thinking about the past or the future, although the present moment is all we have. Because mindfulness enables you to focus on the present moment, it can help you to identify the things you can control and change, especially in high-stress situations. For example, mindfulness often involves observing your breath. By focusing on your breath, you can reduce mental rumination as well as anxiety and stress. Rumination is defined as a continuous focus on negative thoughts and events resulting in emotional distress and often happens in individuals experiencing recovery. Mindfulness may lower depression, anxiety, and overall perceived stress.
Another benefit of mindfulness is that it increases concentration to focus and identify distracting information when it may present itself. Whether you are focusing on your breath, the sounds surrounding you, or the emotions you are feeling, mindfulness teaches you to concentrate. If you struggle with cravings from substance use while in recovery, mindfulness can teach you to recognize triggers and intrusive thoughts. While you identify these thoughts, mindfulness can provide you with mental clarity and focus. You may struggle with self-control, but mindfulness can help you establish feelings of control once again over time.
There are many other benefits of mindfulness, such as enhancing mental flexibility and emotional intelligence, increasing the ability to relate to others through compassion, and practicing acceptance and objectivity. It is easy to get stuck on our own subjective perceptions of things. In other words, it is easy for us to only see the world through our eyes. Mindfulness teaches us to view our life experiences and situations more objectively to not become attached to our own emotional responses.
How Do I Incorporate Mindfulness Into My Daily Routine?
Now that you are aware of the numerous benefits of mindfulness, you may be ready to incorporate some mindfulness practices into your routine. It may take time to feel results, but through dedication and commitment, they will appear. Here are some ways you can get started with mindfulness:
- Focus on your breath. You can choose your own counts, but for reference, you may want to breathe in through your nose for four counts, hold for two counts, and breathe out your mouth for five counts. Repeat often and find time to focus on your breath daily.
- Take a mindful stroll. Find a nice place to walk in nature. As you walk, focus on your breath and notice the nature that surrounds you. Focus on the sounds of the wind or birds, and notice the colors or smells. If fearful thoughts or worries surface in your mind, gently return to the present moment.
- Meditation. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. When thoughts enter, attach them to a metaphorical cloud and let them float away. Be still and present with yourself and enjoy your own company.
- Yoga. Engage in virtual or local yoga classes. Yoga embodies the physical effects of mindfulness while connecting to mental clarity and peace. Always return to the comfort of your breath during yoga practices, but enjoy a good stretch in the process.
- Active listening. When you are talking with others, engage fully in the conversation. If something is said that you relate to, try to put yourself in the speaker's shoes. Practice listening with empathy, compassion, and non-judgment.
- Be grateful. Appreciate the people, opportunities, and experiences that you have. If you are maintaining your recovery journey, be proud of yourself and how far you have come. Take a few moments every day to recognize how awesome it is to be alive.
Mindfulness is complete awareness of the present moment. Elements such as non-judgment, acceptance, and gratitude are components typically included in mindfulness. Mindfulness has many benefits, including reduced rumination and anxiety, reduced depression, increased concentration and focus, and enhanced emotional intelligence. If you are on an addiction recovery journey, mindfulness can help you focus on the things that you can control while limiting cravings and recognizing intrusive thoughts. Mindfulness is a key component in recovery as it fosters a positive and healthy mindset. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routines, such as engaging in mediation and yoga, focusing on your breath, taking a mindful walk, or even active listening. South Florida Intervention understands the numerous benefits mindfulness can hold on your recovery journey. We will equip you with the tools and resources necessary to help you maintain lasting sobriety. For more information, give us a call today at (202) 390-2273.