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Mindfulness Can Play An Important Role in Preventing Relapse

Addiction is a complex and pervasive issue that affects millions of individuals worldwide. However, for millions of people who are sober, the risk of relapse remains a challenge. Research shows that mindfulness-based interventions can enhance addiction recovery outcomes. It is one important tool that everyone in recovery should try.

How Does Mindfulness Help People Stay Sober?

Mindfulness can have a role in reducing craving-related brain activity, improving emotional regulation, increasing self-awareness, and helping individuals manage stress and cravings effectively.

Mindfulness techniques have gained increasing attention in recent years for their potential to enhance addiction recovery outcomes.

No one thing can keep a person sober. However, it can be a vital tool people can turn to when experiencing stress.

The Science of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment and accepting one's thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment.

For people in recovery, these exercises can help with developing self-awareness. It can also bring better emotional management and coping skills. Research published shows that mindfulness-based interventions can significantly reduce craving-related brain activity, potentially reducing the risk of relapse.

Emotional Regulation and Stress Reduction

People who live with addiction often experience emotional dysregulation and high stress levels. Mindfulness can help equip addicted persons with the tools to manage their emotions and reduce stress.

Mindfulness-based interventions can help reduce stress, which is a common trigger for relapse. Learning to cope with emotions, and take pleasure in the moment, is part of what mindfulness is all about. People in recovery can learn emotional resilience, and mindfulness can teach them to respond to triggers and cravings.

Learning to cope with emotions and triggers can feel overwhelming in early recovery. This is why it is important to try different tools to help you learn to cope with anger, anxiety, and other unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings.

Self-Awareness and Relapse Prevention

Self-awareness is a trait that can be taught, and it’s vital to success for people in recovery. A lack of self-awareness can lead to harmful behaviors and even relapse. When a person doesn’t know their triggers, it’s hard for them to adapt and move past them.

Mindfulness promotes self-awareness by encouraging people to recognize their urges and emotional states without judgment. This lets them feel the physical feelings associated with their state of mind and continue to stay calm and centered despite those feelings.

It can also help you stay grounded in the present moment rather than dwelling on past regrets or fearing the future. This can make the journey of recovery feel more manageable.

Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Treatment

Everyone who goes to treatment needs different types of therapy to help them succeed in recovery. Many counselors now know how to do guided mindfulness and meditation exercises. People who live with co-occurring disorders like anxiety will also benefit from using relaxation exercises.

Treatment is a journey and along the way you’ll build a toolbox. Not every tool will work for every situation, so you can keep what you need and leave the rest.

Many programs teach their clients how to apply mindfulness techniques in real-life situations.

By embracing mindfulness, individuals in recovery can build a stronger foundation for a healthier, addiction-free future.

Other Relaxation Techniques

There are several other techniques that people in recovery may want to explore. Other relaxation techniques that may help reduce anxiety, and cravings and cope with disturbing emotions include:

  • Deep Breathing Exercises: Deep, diaphragmatic breathing can help your body loosen up, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation. Deep breathing works by taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose, holding it briefly, and then exhaling slowly through your mouth. This can be done discreetly, at any time, or anywhere.
  • Yoga: Yoga combines physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation. People who enjoy yoga say it helps promote flexibility and relaxation. It also helps with stress reduction. Many addiction treatment centers offer yoga classes as part of their programs.
  • Guided Imagery: Guided imagery involves creating a mental image or scenario that promotes relaxation and positive emotions. A therapist or other professional guides you through visualization and helps talk you through what happens. This technique can be very useful in managing cravings and triggers.
  • Journaling: The simple act of writing down thoughts and feelings can be therapeutic. It can work as a way to process emotions and triggers. Guided journaling can help people understand their emotions and behaviors. Many people in recovery like to keep journals to track their growth.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): PMR involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups, helping you become more aware of physical tension and learn to release it, reducing overall anxiety.

Staying Sober Is a Journey

If you or somebody you love needs help with their addiction, we’re here to start you on the journey. Give us a call to learn about our programs.



Read Full Bio
Mark G
Mark Gladden brings both personal and professional experience to his role as co-founder of Present Moments Recovery. Now in long-term recovery himself after struggling with addiction for years, Mark understands firsthand the challenges men face in achieving and maintaining sobriety. It was this insight, combined with a desire to help others, that led Mark to establish Present Moments Recovery.

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