Mindfulness and yoga are just a few of the ways people incorporate self-care practices into recovery. Yoga is both exercise and mindfulness. Mindfulness is about calming the mind, focusing on energy, and reducing anxiety and depression. Mind-body practices have been shown to help aid in recovery and healing physical ailments, as well. In recovery from a substance use disorder, there are four key things to consider when looking at ways yoga and mindfulness can be supportive self-care practices.
Why Self Care Matters
Yoga is a practice that has been around for centuries. It has been helpful for people in recovery from alcohol and substance use for just as long. These practices help people focus their energy, work out their physical bodies, and center their breathing practices. Instead of turning towards substances and alcohol, they can focus on their inner strength to heal and the calmness that comes with practicing yoga. Mindfulness programs for substance use range from sitting meditation to the incorporation of elements within a 12-Step program and psycho-educational practices that lower the risk of relapse. Yoga is effective along with other psychotherapeutic models of healing that help people with trauma, mental health issues, and substance use disorders.
Mindfulness is a crucial practice for people who are stressed and studies have shown that yoga reduces stress and anxiety. These triggers for substance use give pause for people to be aware of problematic situations and relax their stress response. With mindfulness, they are better able to notice emotions and make room for them. Taking a second to be aware of feelings, thoughts, and experiences without judgment can aid in mindfulness practices. Mindfulness is about decreasing the pressure on a person’s own ability to handle their recovery and putting the focus on calm, thoughtful awareness in the present.
Attention is the key to recovery. The more attention a person pays to their triggers and emotions, the better off they are when it comes to healing. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness all focus on an internal reflective response. Mindfulness training emphasizes awareness of what a person is thinking and feeling without reacting. Noticing uncomfortable feelings without responding right away helps deal with stressful triggers and emotions that come up in recovery. Awareness is broader than just dealing with feelings. The practice of awareness is about intentionally focusing on what is happening and deciding to use the tools given to make it a more positive experience at that moment. Nobody is perfect, but having the right tools can be rewarding and helpful for the journey.
Reduced Triggers and Cravings
Cravings can be a predictor of relapse. While they do not mean it will happen, it is crucial to be aware that the possibility may be higher. Mindfulness training reduces cravings, even when people experience negative or painful feelings. When people who smoke look at smoking images mindfully, they experience fewer cravings in their brain centers than those who have not done mindfulness work. On a smaller scale, how people who work mindfulness into their recovery can retrain their brains to help them in difficult times along the journey.
Better Overall Mood
Most people in recovery crave better overall health and mood. It is not just about the general outlook. It is also about finding the desire to have a different life altogether. When mental health issues are pre-eminent, it can feel nearly impossible to have good days. For some, this is due to brain changes from a substance use disorder. Negative moods are part of recovery, but mindfulness can help on the grey days when it is hard to be positive. Different forms of yoga, regular breathing exercises, and improved mood can help people get through recovery. Breathing, sleep changes, and focused intention on lifting a person’s spirit with positive thinking can be helpful as a part of the healing journey in recovery. A better mood is not going to appear overnight. Still, consistency, mindfulness, and yoga can boost community connection and increase a person’s decision to be healthier and happier in recovery.
A mindfulness practice can help a person learn self-acceptance. Recovery is a learning journey, one that is fraught with ups and downs. The ability to be compassionate with oneself helps a person live in the present, without being burdened by the past. Living without the expectation of others is key to the journey of healing from a substance use disorder. Yoga is one way to incorporate mindfulness practices. Still, breathing exercises, thoughtfulness, intentions, and setting a person’s mind on positive energy by being around positive people are keys to the journey. Healing from a substance use disorder in a community can be challenging. The tools of regular yoga practice and mindfulness provide help to calm and soothe as they gently move the focus from the negative to the positive. Recovery is not a solo activity, and neither is yoga. Everyone needs others to lift them up and support them. Meditation and mindfulness practices in a community can help lift a person’s spirits, encourage their journey, and support them as they make progress towards their goals in recovery.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at (800) 799-4673.