In This Article
Mindfulness is Essential in a Wellness Lifestyle
Study results find that mindfulness interrupts reactive behaviors and encourages thoughtful and skillful responses to addiction relapse triggers.
With mindfulness practice, new neural networks form in the brain. Mindfulness meditation creates structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing.
How Does Mindfulness Help Addiction Recovery?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is having the internal focus to be quietly aware of your own thoughts and impulses – without judgment – and without acting on the impulses.
How Does Mindfulness Help?
A space of awareness is created between impulse and actions with mindfulness practice.
With increased non-judgmental self-awareness – impulsive and habitual behaviors can decrease. This means that the effects of triggers can be decreased or eliminated. And impulsive actions are no longer automatically activated.
Mindfulness Addiction Recovery
New Start Recovery Solutions uses mindfulness relapse prevention and mindfulness training as a part of our Northern California Evidence Based Integrated Substance Abuse Treatment program.
Mindfulness Lifestyle for Wellness
Once learned, Mindfulness costs nothing to practice.
Mindfulness can be done anywhere, at any time. It requires no setup. Mindfulness can be practiced while sitting, standing, walking, gazing at the ocean – the possibilities are endless.
One of the best and cheapest ways to become healthier and happier in general is through mindfulness practice.
Mark Williams is a professor of clinical psychology at Oxford; and an expert in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. He is the co-author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World.
According to Williams, after nine weeks of training – participants in a mindfulness program had “an increased sense of purpose and had fewer feelings of isolation and alienation, along with decreased symptoms of illness as diverse as headaches, chest pain, congestion and weakness.”
Benefits of Mindfulness in Addiction Recovery and Relapse Prevention
Can learning to practice Mindfulness help individuals in recovery – and in relapse prevention?
The answer is YES.
According to a practice review published in 2010 by the APA (American Psychological Association), What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness? – the practice of mindfulness has multiple benefits in mood regulation, stress reduction and self awareness.
Continue reading to see the ten main benefits of mindfulness in addiction treatment and recovery.
Benefits of Mindfulness in Addiction Treatment and Relapse Prevention Include:
- Reduced Pain – A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience March 16, 2016 concluded that Mindfulness meditation reliably reduces pain. (Mindfulness-Meditation-Based Pain Relief Is Not Mediated by Endogenous Opioids)
- Reduced Rumination – Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces obsessive thoughts.
- Stress reduction – Many studies show that practicing mindfulness reduces stress.
- Boosts to working memory – Improvements to working memory appear to be another benefit of mindfulness.
- Focus – Another study examined how mindfulness meditation affected participants’ ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information. Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness correlated directly with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning (Moore and Malinowski, 2009).
- Less Emotional Reactivity – Research also supports that mindfulness meditation decreases emotional reactivity. This results in being able to ‘catch’ habitual reactions before it becomes an action.
- More Cognitive Flexibility – Another line of research suggests that in addition to helping people become less reactive, mindfulness meditation may also provide greater cognitive flexibility to avoid habitual behaviors.
→ One study found that people who practice mindfulness meditation develop the skill of self-observation. This neurologically disengages the automatic pathways that were created by prior learning – and enables present-moment input to be integrated in a new way (Mindfulness Training and Neural Integration, Siegel, 2007a).
- Increased Emotional Resilience – Meditation also activates the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful or negative situations (Cahn & Polich, 2006; Davidson et al., 2003). Activation of this region corresponds with faster recovery to baseline after being provoked (Davis and Hayes, What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness).
- Relationship Satisfaction – Several studies find that a person’s ability to be mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction by increasing the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one’s emotions to a partner.
- Mindfulness Interrupts the Addiction Cycle.
Mindfulness Interrupts the Addiction Cycle
USC Researchers Find Mindfulness is Key to Recovering from Substance Abuse
Investigators at USC believe mindfulness practice could represent the next major breakthrough in the treatment of substance use and major mental health issues.
USC researchers Jordan Davis and Nicholas Barr are testing mindfulness as a component of recovery from substance use, trauma and other serious challenges.
Initial studies with young adults show dramatic drops in stress, cravings, impulsivity and risk of relapse after practicing mindfulness.
“Mindfulness based relapse prevention (MBRP) has demonstrated efficacy in alleviating substance use, stress, and craving. Our results suggest that Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention is a useful and appropriate intervention for marginalized young adults.
Further, our results suggest that the effects of MBRP on long-term substance use outcomes may be partially explained by reduced stress.”
Mindfulness with Whole Person Addiction Recovery
Long-term addiction recovery is dependent on discarding habitual behaviors – and instead engaging in new sober and healthful activities. Mindfulness means having the internal focus to be quietly aware of your own thoughts and impulses – without judgment or acting on the impulses. This interrupts the addiction cycle, creates more calmness and provides the foundation for a wellness lifestyle.
During treatment, our patients learn new habits, rituals, and wellness techniques for mind, body and spirit. Holistic recovery in the residential program at New Start Recovery Solutions includes core addiction treatment along with mindfulness practices, yoga and positive psychology.
Addiction treatment starts with inpatient medically-assisted Detox. When needed, our medical staff prescribes medications to ease withdrawal side effects.
For opioid addiction recovery, we use MAT Medically-Assisted Treatment.
Don’t let the fear of withdrawal keep you locked in addiction! Call 866-303-6275 for more info.
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