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5 Ways Mindfulness Steers Us on the Road to Recovery

The modern world can be a dizzying buzz of distraction, steering the mind in a billion different directions: When was that meeting? I’ll start exercising tomorrow. When was the power bill due? I’ll clean the kitchen tonight. I need to be more organized.

Understanding the Sober Mind

Five seconds of life can be a slick track. Even the healthiest minds careen, swerve, stop and start just to negotiate their thoughts. However, this buzz ad infinitum is amplified 10-fold for individuals in the midst of recovery.

When reliance on mind-dulling substances is no longer an option, navigating a sober, unquiet mind can literally be a white-knuckling experience.

Fortunately, you don’t have to silence the mind…you just need to steer it effectively.

Mastering Mindfulness in Recovery

Mindfulness gently guides the mind in a positive direction while observing without passing judgment – both internally and externally. Here are five ways you can use mindfulness as a navigational tool on the road to recovery.

  • Being Part of the Present

Mindfulness is a mental practice of deliberate presence. Each moment becomes unique, precious and crystallized. By focusing on – and dwelling in – each moment, people in recovery can change “one day at a time” to “one moment at a time.” This serves as your gauging distance.

  • Exercise for a Healthy Mind

Since mindfulness requires a present focus, regrets of the past and anxiety of the future cease to exist. This is an exercise of “letting go” to promote mental health. Once the past and future cease to exist, irrational fear and shame loosen their grip. Think of this as your mental “tune up.”

  • Allowing New Pleasures

When the mind is distracted, it is unaware of simple pleasures. Whether it’s a soft breeze on the cheek, the warmth of natural window light or the refreshment of a deep breath, mindfulness acknowledges the smallest and most subtle pleasures of life. This is what enjoying the ride feels like.

  • Strengthening and Practice

As with anything, mindfulness requires practice. Luckily, many activities facilitate and enhance the joy and focus of practicing mindfulness. For example, try introducing different forms of meditation or try yoga on your way to becoming a more skilled “driver.”

  • Accepting and Forgiving

When mindful, your thoughts become more focused – even the unpleasant ones. With self-awareness comes the strengthening of self-acceptance and forgiveness. Remember, mindfulness is open observance without judgment. These traits are ultimately responsible for steering on the road to recovery.

Additional Reading: Recovery and Getting Your Natural “Happy” Back

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