By: Ava
January 3, 2019

How Mindfulness Can Help with Addiction

Table of Contents

Addiction recovery is a long road, but there are many tools you can use along the way to make the process easier. Mindfulness therapy is a technique you can use to be more aware of your thought processes and behavioral habits so that you can actively change them. Meditation is a huge part of mindfulness, and you can use it to address negative thoughts and habits in a non-judgmental way. You can also implement small mindfulness practices into your daily life while recovering from drug addiction. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the ways mindfulness therapy can help with addiction recovery.

Why Mindfulness Therapy Works For Addiction

Mindfulness therapy can be very helpful in treating a variety of mental health conditions, but it works particularly well for drug abuse because of the way addictions form. Addiction happens when someone experiences external stimuli that make them feel good. Over time, they will start feeling the urge to recreate this good feeling, regardless of the consequences. They will then seek out this good feeling when they feel negative emotions. Mindfulness therapy is very effective for breaking the cycle of addiction because it teaches the addiction sufferer to be aware of their emotions and behaviors as they are happening, enabling them to make smart choices about how they deal with their addiction.

Mindfulness is also very helpful because it teaches the addiction patient to associate the negative consequences of drugs with their cravings. This naturally motivates them to want to quit. For example, when you experience the urge to smoke, mindfulness will teach you to think about the damage that smoking can do to your body. This provokes a negative reaction in the body and mind that can combat the craving. While this does require quite a bit of willpower at first, over time it can be extremely effective for preventing relapse.

The Science Behind Mindfulness Therapy

Mindfulness therapy is very effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues, not just drug addiction. The increased awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can essentially rewire the brain with practice. When we have the same thought patterns over and over, our neurons are more prone to follow those thought patterns again. By forcing our neurons to take new thought patterns, we can essentially train the brain to work in a healthier way and prevent addictive behaviors.

There are many techniques around the world that teach mindfulness, and it has been used for centuries in a wide range of cultures. Yoga and tai chi both have aspects of meditation in their practice. There are many different ways of practicing meditation, but it’s something that you can easily do on your own. The simplest form of meditation is to just get in a comfortable place, close your eyes, and watch your thoughts pass through, letting them go as they enter your mind. Don’t judge or dwell on your thoughts, but instead just observe them and let them go. Over time, the goal is to empty your mind, creating a mental state of calm. You can try this on your own, look for online guides, or work with your therapist to develop an effective meditation technique for you.

Many drug treatment centers encourage mindfulness therapy with their patients. If other types of addiction recovery treatments are not working for you, incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can make a big difference. Mindfulness will teach you to be aware of your emotions and react to them in a healthy way instead of using addictive substances. It will also help you fight cravings with positive thought patterns.