How Mindfulness Can Help Combat Addiction
It is a universally acknowledged fact that human beings seek happiness. Don’t we all look for things that make us feel good? However, things that make us feel good can also become dangerous. We hold on to toxic relationships, dwell on obsessive thoughts, resort to alcohol drinking, etc.
While dealing with such addiction problems, people lose power over themselves, and they go through an overwhelming range of emotions such as shame, anger, guilt, etc., making it tough to recover.
By practising mindfulness, you can recover from addiction. Mindfulness practices, unlike the other interventions, are simple, easy, and less time-consuming. In this article, I will walk you through essential points that will help you see that mindfulness is the best way to combat addiction problems.
How do mindfulness practices help combat addiction issues?
1. Practising presence
Mindfulness is all about harnessing the power of the present moment in our everyday lives. With the help of mindfulness practices, it is possible to train our minds to let go of the past and future. As a result, we learn to live in the present.
Most people resort to addictive patterns to escape from their past and future. For example, to forget about their traumatic past, people can turn to alcohol. Whereas, to deal with the anxieties about the future, people hold on to obsessive thoughts. But with the help of mindfulness, you can easily detach from past traumas and future fears. This sort of detachment is highly crucial to letting go of addiction problems.
2. Using breath as an anchor
There are lots of mindfulness exercises that use breath as a tool for cultivating presence. For example, we have 4-7-8 breathing techniques, Alternate Nostril Breathing, etc., to help us calm down when stressed. Besides tackling stress, breathing exercises are also helpful to break away from obsessive thoughts.
Due to stress and overthinking, a lot of people fall back on addictive behaviours to calm themselves. In the long run, addictive behaviour is not healthy for us. So, we need to find better ways to relax and calm down. How can we do that? By doing mindfulness breathing exercises, we can tackle problems such as stress and overthink. As a result, one would be able to prevent a relapse to addiction.
3. Respond vs React
Additional issues arise due to our emotional complexity. All of us come from different families, races, and cultures. So, we carry a lot of diverse emotions from our past. Pleasant emotions are good, but the unpleasant ones we try to avoid. How? By turning to alcohol, drugs, etc.
For recovering from addiction, we need to work on our emotions, and mindfulness is a valuable tool for overcoming difficult emotions. There is a research paper that reports that Mindfulness-based interventions improve emotional processing. With mindfulness practices, you learn to notice and accept feelings for what they are. So, you will be able to deal with difficult emotions in a better manner.
4. Helps with Depression
People who deal with addiction also experience mental health issues such as depression, and depression is a risk factor that can trigger addiction relapse. With mindful practices, we can learn to detach from negative thoughts and handle unpleasant emotions. On the whole, we can control the symptoms of depression to a great extent.
5. Being compassionate
The path to recovery from addiction isn’t easy. Sometimes, we fail to get our lives back on track. This failure often generates a lot of shame, guilt, and resentment in us. In this pool of emotions, we forget to be kind towards ourselves and others. Addiction issues often make us feel shameful about who we have become.
Consequently, we stop liking ourselves. However, self-compassion is crucial for recovery. Using mindfulness, you practise relating to yourself in a kind and gentle manner.
6. Improves self-regulation
Addiction often involves people uncontrollably resorting to harmful behaviours. Despite genuinely wishing to stop, one isn’t able to stop functioning in those destructive behavioural patterns. Using mindfulness techniques, it is possible to improve self-regulation. A research study found that just five days of meditation practice is enough for improving self-regulation.
To tackle addiction problems, mindfulness-Based Interventions are the best. Besides, mindfulness techniques are natural, easy, healthy, and less time-consuming. Also, they are highly effective to deal with problems that trigger addiction, such as stress, anxiety, overthinking, depression, etc.