When It’s Hard to be Mindful: 3 Strategies To Calm A Chaotic Mind During Recovery
If you’re in the process of recovery from addiction, you’re probably experiencing a lot of different emotions. Recovery is a beautiful process, but it can also be painful, chaotic, and messy at times; detoxification can lead us to experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms, which may include depression, anxiety, irritability and more. If you’re at the beginning stages of your recovery, you may be questioning your ability to succeed in recovery – which can add an entirely new level of stress to this already unpredictable experience. Even though it feels like you’re on a roller coaster, hang in there – you’re not alone. A lot of people (some would argue everyone) feels this way at some point or another. The best way to work through these emotions is to find some level of grounding, of calmness, of tranquility.
Mindfulness is the practice of staying aware of the present moment. Anyone can practice this at any time – for example, you could practice this while brushing your teeth, simply by noticing the texture of the toothpaste, how it feels against your cheek, your teeth, your gums, and recognizing the overall movements of your body as you do this. When our minds get busy, however, the act of mindfulness can quickly turn into mindlessness – leaving you with intense feelings of anger, anxiety, frustration, resentment, depression, and more. If your emotions seem to be flooding in, try these 5 strategies to get to where you need to be:
- Distract yourself. Put on a funny movie or show, listen to a song that you like, read an enjoyable book, play with your pet, do something safe to immediately take you away from the chaos in your mind.
- Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in through your nose and count to 3 inside your head – then breathe out through your mouth and count to 3. Try this a few times.
- Say it funny. Whatever your thoughts are right now, sing those thoughts in your head to the tune of “Happy Birthday” – how serious are they now? Try saying those thoughts in different voices, such as that of Shrek. Does it feel as personal? Try different, funny songs and character voices to help you distance yourself from the chaos.
A 2014 study published in the journal Frontier Psychiatry emphasized that mindfulness can help reduce negative emotions, clarify a person’s ability to work through those emotions, enhance cognitive control, and much more. Remember that your thoughts do not control you, and they often are not the truth. You can do this. Recovery is possible.
Trauma is most often the root cause of many emotional, behavioral, and mood disorders. Until you can heal your trauma, you will find great difficulty finding the healing you need to live a life of recovery, health, and wellness. At Khiron House, we provide effective residential treatment and cutting edge therapies which seek to transform mind, body, and spirit from the effects of trauma. Call us today for information. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours) USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).