by Mel Mardle
In health circles and rehabilitation centers alike, the buzzword is mindfulness. Whether employed in yoga sessions, meditation or alone, ‘being in the here and now’ has proven to wield plentiful benefits, in numerous large-scale studies.
Mindfulness is simple; it begins with being more aware of what is occurring in the present moments, as we carry out normal day-to-day tasks like having a shower, enjoying a meal or simply breathing in the beauty of a natural landscape. At a deeper level, it can be employed to face the difficult thoughts we tend to repress or escape from through the use of drugs and alcohol.
In drug rehabilitation therapy, one of the most important challenges a recovering addict must overcome, is that of facing the many difficult emotions that may flood their minds when they first quit their habit. They may feel a blend of guilt, shame, anger, depression, etc. Through mindfulness work, they can be taught to let these feelings flow through their mind and body, accepting them without allowing them to take over and submerge them into a state of anxiety or depression.
Mindfulness enables us to live the moment yet remain in control. It lowers stress levels and helps individuals think more clearly, serving as an important tool for recovering addicts when they are called upon to formulate a positive, long-term plan of action once the immediate effects of withdrawal have abated.
Sometimes, mindfulness and meditation are confused… mindfulness can be practiced inside or outside of formal meditation. -Anne Fletcher