The Benefits of Practicing
Mindfulness in Recovery

When we talk about recovery, we’re often talking about starting it. People frequently say that the first step is the hardest, and it’s a powerful and beautiful thing when someone can commit to self-improvement. However, there’s a second big step after getting clean: staying clean. Dealing with triggers like drinks after work or a TV show glorifying drug use can be an ongoing challenge.

Some of the most effective ways to manage life’s unexpected obstacles come in the form of holistic mindfulness practices, which can be done alone or in a group setting. Beginning to learn these practices in rehab both helps the client process rehab’s many lessons and prepares them for life in recovery.

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What Is Mindfulness?

Put simply, mindfulness exercises allow a person to clear their head and focus on their present environment and experience, rather than dwelling on difficult thoughts or feelings. This encourages nonjudgmental, objective, and productive thinking.

There are a few ways to achieve this. One of the simplest is breathing exercises, where focusing on regulated breathing clears the mind and relieves tension in the body to manage stress and anxiety.

Meditation often incorporates regulated breathing as a mindfulness tactic, but also guides your attention to other specific aspects of your current experience, such as how different parts of your body feel. Some meditations may have you repeat mantras to yourself, or visualize various calming things.

Yoga and similar mindfulness exercises apply these principles to physical acts and stretches, asking you to maintain different poses that either relax or draw attention to different regions of the body. This combination of controlled physical activity and healthy thinking can help you reset mind, body, and spirit together.

Getting Started with Mindfulness Practices

Just like playing a sport, performing music, or improving your cooking, mindfulness is a skill that requires regular practice. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to get started, whether you have yet to begin rehab or are looking for new ways to manage your recovery!

  • Breathing exercises can be done anywhere and last as long as you need, whether that’s five minutes or an hour. Online tutorials and simple apps can help you get started.
  • A good step up may be meditation, which often uses guided breathing alongside its directed thinking. Again, various online resources and applications can help you stick to a meditation schedule, or group meditation can help you connect to yourself and others simultaneously.
  • Yoga is also a great tool, if a little more involved. Whether you’re setting up a yoga mat in front of a tv and following along with a video, or joining a group session for a social experience, you can increase your awareness of the connections between your mind, body, and spirit.

When any combination of these tools accompanies a recovery journey, they help clients put the day-to-day into a larger context and offer healthy resolution to the cravings and discomfort the client may face while still learning to reject substance abuse.

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What Mindfulness Adds to Recovery

Clients who practice mindfulness — and learn how to bring the calm and objective thinking from mindfulness therapies to other parts of their lives — are better equipped to handle stressful or tempting situations after rehab.

Researchers at the University of Washington found that those who utilized mindfulness techniques in their recovery were 54% less likely to relapse into their drug abuse[1] Another study from Ohio University found that college students who practiced mindfulness techniques were significantly less likely to have binge drinking episodes than those who did not. [2]

There’s plenty of evidence, scientific and anecdotal, that suggests mindfulness makes for an easier and more peaceful life in recovery. However, it’s important to take full advantage of your time in rehab to learn some of these techniques and find what works best for you. While it’s never too late to start mindfulness practices, it’s also certainly better to start early, especially if your rehab program offers a variety of mindfulness therapies for you to experiment with.

Mindfulness at Roots Recovery

At Roots Recovery, we want to prepare our clients for the challenges they’ll face throughout their entire lives. Mindfulness practices are just some of the standout holistic therapies we offer, and they work best in conjunction with our evidence-based psychological counseling.

We look at everyone who comes through our doors as a unique person with their own personal needs, and that’s what allows us to provide an individualized balance of clinical therapies, mindfulness exercises, and any other services or treatments they may need.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, don’t wait. Call Roots Recovery at 844.447.6687 today.