Brain Factor: Can Thought Patterns Impact Your Sobriety?

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On the journey to staying clean, being aware of your thoughts and impulses is an essential skill. While it takes focus and dedication to cultivate, mindfulness is an invaluable tool that can be used towards living a happy, healthy and holistic life.

Mindfulness has been well documented as a factor that promotes well-being in individuals. Specifically for recovering addicts who have lost or never had a sense of control and understanding of their minds, mindfulness practices bring a sense of awareness and alert us to what’s going on in our own.

Ready to Train Your Brain?

Imagine experiencing a thought craving, being able to recognize it, and then being able to redirect it away from you. This sort of power over your own mind is what mindfulness can bring to you. Below are five techniques that can be used to cultivate mindfulness, specific to individuals who are working to stay clean.

  • Mindfulness Meditation

Easier said than done, mindfulness mediation involves recognizing the swirl of thoughts in your mind and working to calm them.

You don’t need to prevent thoughts or get mad at yourself for having certain thoughts. At first, you just want to recognize them in an effort to gain more insight and awareness as to what they are. As you gain more awareness of what goes on in your head, more clarity will come into your life and you will be prepared to make better decisions and maintain your sobriety.

  • Practicing Non-Judgement

The beauty of mindfulness is that there is no right or wrong in how you do it or what you aim to accomplish. It is about embracing all that we, as individuals, have to offer, including the traits we may not be so proud of.

Being able to recognize negative thought patterns and release ourselves from our own judgement is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself while working on your sobriety.

  • Live in the Present

At the heart of mindfulness is a focus on the present moment and how you are feeling in that moment. Try and keep yourself from dwelling on the past and learn to forgive yourself.

With a focus on the present, you will be better able to recognize when you may be trending towards a relapse and be able to get yourself back on track much quicker.

  • Moving Meditation

Mediation doesn’t just have to be seated quietly focusing on your thoughts. If you have too much energy to sit still or feel a better connection to your environment as you move through it, try a walking meditation. This technique brings awareness to the mind, as well as the body. Unifying the mind and body will make you stronger in sobriety.

  • Breath-work

More along the lines of traditional mediation, breath-work brings awareness to the mind by focusing on the breath. You begin with the simple goal of observing your breath, before advancing to more complex practices. The breath acts as an anchor for the mind as the mind can easily wander.

In the midst of gaining and maintaining sobriety, beginning with simple grounding goals will help lay the foundation for success in staying clean.

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