In recent years there have been several studies focusing on mindfulness techniques to treat addiction and mental health issues because of its long term effectiveness in recovery. Mindfulness techniques have also been found useful for chronic physical illnesses as well as those related to physical pain.
What is Mindfulness?
Simply stated, mindfulness is a practice that helps focus our awareness on the present moment. Most mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and several others arise from the mind’s focus on negative thoughts and emotions either related to past events, or projected into future fears. Mindfulness techniques can help consistently redirect the mind’s awareness to the present moment, thereby reducing stress and increasing focus.
Mindfulness techniques are used in treating:
- Mood swings
- Sleep disorders
- Chronic pain
- And several others
3 Simple Techniques You Can Try
#1 Watch your Breath
There are hundreds of breathing techniques, but one of the simplest is to simply count your breaths, say to 10. If you’re doing a breathing technique as part of your mindfulness meditation, each inhale and exhale cycle counts as 1 rep. Count the number of breaths until you reach 10, and then start over. Do this practice for about 10 minutes each day, or before your meditation. Or this can be your meditation practice for 20 – 30 minutes.
You can also use a breathing technique in moments of stress, such as taking 3 deep breaths when you feel anxious or stressful.
#2 Do a Body Scan
This is a simple technique where you close your eyes and put your awareness on each area of your body, starting from your toes, and ending at the top of your head. You can also choose to start from your head and work your way downwards. When you put your awareness on an area of your body, say your knees, or your heart, you will notice a slight surge of presence or energy in that area.
You can do this practice at any time of day, such as the first thing when you wake up, or the last thing you do before you go to sleep. It is also effective when you are waiting in a line somewhere, and starting to get frustrated.
#3 Take a Walk Mindfully
This is a powerful mindfulness technique when you realize how often we walk or perform other actions mindlessly. In this practice, you bring your attention to your feet and notice how it feels when each foot contacts the ground with each step you take.
You can practice this not only with walking, but when you do yoga, or when you go for a run, or even when you do a workout at the gym.
Mindfulness is so effective when practiced regularly that it has been shown to alter the brain’s functioning in extraordinarily positive ways. Try out any (or all) of the techniques above and start incorporating them into your daily routine. They offer excellent alternative coping mechanisms to addictive substances and behaviors.
We use mindfulness-based techniques and other holistic practices as part of our therapy for both addiction and mental health issues.
Reach out to learn more! 865-800-0947