Can you overcome addiction by paying careful attention to your thoughts, emotions, and experiences? While the ancient practice of mindfulness is not a magic bullet, it can be a helpful tool in addiction recovery.

What Is Mindfulness?

According to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Mindfulness encourages you to be aware of your thoughts and feelings as they arise, and to recognize their impermanence. It teaches you to acknowledge and accept your experiences rather than modify or suppress them. This type of awareness and acceptance can be particularly useful as you seek to live a life free from addiction.

Mindfulness Based Interventions for Substance Abuse

The first type of mindfulness based intervention, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, was developed by Kabat-Zinn in 1979 to help people with chronic physical and mental health issues. The program combines meditation, yoga, and psychotherapy techniques to teach people the art of mindfulness to reduce stress and improve quality of life. Over the years, the program has been successfully used to treat a variety of issues, including addiction.

Additional interventions include Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, based on cognitive behavioral therapy, and Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention, an after-care program for substance use disorders.

One or more of these types of mindfulness based interventions may be used at a luxury rehab center to help you overcome addiction—and deal with co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety. Whatever the program, meditation is a key component of mindfulness based intervention.

Using Mindfulness Meditation to Overcome Addiction

Though addiction has clear physiological components, regulating your thoughts and emotions can help you achieve and maintain sobriety. By learning how to rethink the nature of stressful situations and stimuli, you can halt the harmful train of thought that leads to substance abuse.

Here’s an example: Experiential avoidance—an unwillingness to deal with unpleasant thoughts and experiences—is often involved in the pattern of substance abuse. Rather than dealing with difficulties that arise, you avoid the experience and reach for a substance.

Mindfulness meditation, however, promotes nonjudgmental acceptance of moment-to-moment thoughts and interrupts the tendency to respond in an unhealthy manner, such as by abusing drugs and alcohol. Mindfulness can also help you reduce cravings as you learn how to respond with awareness rather than reacting automatically.

Achieving Mindfulness in a Luxury Rehab

In a luxury rehab center, trained therapists can guide you in the practice of mindfulness meditation in a tranquil setting. Here are three basic steps therapists may use to help you achieve mindfulness:

Concentrate on your breathing. Being aware of the action of breathing in and breathing out can help you push away panic and anger and restore a sense of calm.

• Pay attention to all your senses. Pay close attention to every sight, sound, smell, and physical sensation you are experiencing. These details can keep you grounded and give you something tangible to focus on.

• Acknowledge that your thoughts are fleeting. Harmful or overpowering thoughts are not permanent, and they do not define you. Recognizing this can help you break the cycle of negative thought patterns that feed your addiction.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

As you consider treatment programs for addiction, keep in mind that mindfulness based interventions have been generally found to be better than “treatment as usual” for addictive disorders. Such interventions have decreased the risk of relapse and reduced the amount and frequency of substance use. They have even been found to weaken the automatic neural processes related to alcohol use.

In fact, research reveals that mindfulness can produce changes to the structure of the brain itself. Mindfulness can impact the density and volume of gray matter, helping with emotion regulation and perspective-taking. Additional benefits of mindfulness may include reduced withdrawal symptoms, increased optimism, and better decision-making.

Clearly, mindfulness can play a positive role in addiction recovery. With help from licensed therapists at a luxury rehab, you can use the practice of mindfulness to overcome addiction and live a healthy, satisfying life.

Are you seeking help in overcoming addiction? Contact our trained admissions counselors at (888) 984-5288 to learn how mindfulness based interventions at Beachside Rehab’s luxury treatment center can make a difference.

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash