Can mindfulness meditation work for addiction? Before answering that question, it’s helpful to have a better understanding of mindfulness training and its applications. Here’s what you need to know about this experiential treatment for substance use and mental health disorders.
What Is Mindfulness? Can Mindfulness Meditation Work for Addiction?
Psychology Today describes mindfulness as a state of being fully aware of the present. This sounds like a simple task. After all, aren’t we all fully aware of where we are and what we’re doing throughout the day?
No, actually. We’re not.
Too often, we get caught up in worrying about tomorrow or regretting yesterday to experience today. And when we do this, we leave ourselves open to anxiety and stress.
Are You Guilty of Not Being Mindful?
Have you ever sat at the kitchen table and looked down to find your coffee cup empty? If so, you’re not being mindful. Where did your drink go? How did you finish it without being aware? Did you even taste it?
We’re all guilty of this. We get lost so deeply in our thoughts that we’re unaware of what’s happening right in front of us, or even what we’re doing ourselves. And if you’ve ever suddenly pulled into your driveway after a long, stressful day and realized you don’t even know which route you took to get home, you’ve experienced another example of not being mindful.
When you’re not mindful, you’re absent. Instead of enjoying and feeling the moment, your mind has traveled either back or forward in time. It is concentrating too hard on things that don’t matter in the right now.
Is It Harmful to Not Be Mindful?
When not being mindful causes you unnecessary worry or anxiety, then yes. It can be harmful. For most people, however, it’s a bad habit that causes them to lose out on many of life’s best moments.
Mindfulness training teaches us to be more present in the moment. It asks us to notice the feelings, sounds, smells, and sensations that surround us, including:
- The way the carpet feels beneath our bare feet
- What the birds sound like singing outside our windows
- How comfortable the couch feels beneath us
- How sweet our drink tastes
- What the room smells like around us
Simple reminders to stop what we’re doing and notice small elements like these throughout the day can be terrific stress relievers. It draws us back into the moment and out from the insides of our heads, where many of us spend way too much time.
Can Mindfulness Meditation Work for Addiction?
Can mindfulness meditation work for addiction? Indeed, it can. Many clients who suffer from substance use disorder began using drugs or alcohol as self-medication. They wanted to ease the pain of uncomfortable feelings or situations, and this was the method they chose.
Mindfulness, conversely, teaches us to embrace those feelings and situations without judgment. We’re free to feel and experience them without making decisions about or acting upon them.
Additionally, recovery from addiction is very much a day-by-day process. It’s vital to work on remaining sober one day, or even one hour, at a time. This makes mindfulness meditation the perfect complement to any substance abuse recovery plan.
Mindfulness Meditation at Integrative Life Center
Can mindfulness meditation work for addiction? At Integrative Life Center in Nashville, we know it can. Mindfulness meditation plays an important role in our drug and alcohol addiction treatment center in Tennessee. Mindfulness is also helpful in overcoming barriers to good mental health, and Integrative Life Center embraces the technique for just this reason.
When you’re ready to learn for yourself whether mindfulness can work for addiction, give Integrative Life Center a call at 615.455.3903. We’re waiting to help you embrace your present so that tomorrow becomes a better day.