There are 7 billion people in this world, and everyone lives their lives in their way and in reason. There are the good days, and then there are bad days. Some incorporate beneficial factors to help them get through the day. It could be a good workout or cook something or even sit down and breathe. However, some resort to harmful substances, from narcotics to heavy drinking to nicotine. They provide temporary pleasures, and it’s common for people to cave into something quick and easy. Not understanding how much it can impact them in their future.
According to Johann Hari, “addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you-it’s the cage you live in.” That craving intensifies each time you consume it. With time, the pleasure that you derive from it depreciates, leading you to want more and more of it. Thus, it integrates it with your everyday life. It traps you, and it would take an immense amount of effort to get out of that cage. Addiction is powerful enough to manifest the brain in three ways.
- Craving for the substance
- Losing control over its use
- Continuous engagement with it despite the negative consequences
Individuals with substance abuse problems respond differently to contextual signals related to substance use, apply emotions to those stimuli, and make behavioral decisions based on those cues and emotions than those without substance abuse problems. They build responding, processing, and reacting habits that reinforce drug use above almost all other means of stress management and emotion management. These habits become repetitive and implicit over time.
Fighting an addiction is a battle with oneself. It can be exhausting, and it can strain your personal life as well. Alcoholics tear their families apart, smokers shivering through their presentations, drug abusers are unable to stabilize their thoughts, gamblers throwing away all their savings, and so on. To get out of an addiction, one must want to get out of it. Trying to get out half-heartedly would not attain any effective or sustainable results. The willingness must be strong enough to endure through all the cravings and breakdowns. It is a difficult journey. Hence some methods and strategies could aid in your journey one way or the other. One method that is used to treat addictions is mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
In simple words, mindfulness is learning to be in the present moment. It allows our minds to be more aware of our surroundings and what’s going on from within. A deeper understanding of self and the world is achieved. Some studies prove that incorporating mindfulness in our daily lives shows improvement in our overall efficiency in both personal and professional lives. Many treatments involve mindfulness as it opens windows to have a better understanding of ourselves. That clarity encourages individuals to work and capture that peace of mind.
Mindfulness may involve a relatively simple procedure. However, it requires a lot of self-disciple. Just as the muscles are built when your body works, the brain transforms with experience and practice. The individual must focus on the present moment and not wander around the past or the future. Though it takes effort to attain that, practicing in small amounts daily does help you get there. Mindfulness exercises allow us to reshape our brains in ways that give us more energy, knowledge, and joy in our lives. Some of the ways you could incorporate mindfulness daily are:
- Observing your breathing
- Connecting with your senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell)
- Practicing gratitude
- Eating mindfully
- Moving your body (Exercise, dance, yoga, etc.)
Try to incorporate some of these simple methods into your day-to-day life. You would be able to sustain them more naturally with time. The results you obtain are beneficial to you in more than one aspect of your life. That is the power of your brain when fed with positive actions.
Mindfulness for addictions
You might wonder how breathing or being thankful for something helps you quit addictions. It helps because practicing mindfulness gets you to experience the natural sensations that your body can produce. People often burden themselves with multiple activities at once that they forget the sensory experiences felt every day. Due to that lack of tranquility, people resort to substances to drown themselves to feel relief. Thus, mindfulness will give you the chance to see how your senses can provide you the same sort of relief that you get from consuming harmful substances.
Today, you can see everyone is rushing from one thing on to another. That rush doesn’t permit you to take a minute for yourself, live in the moment, and experience life. This could lead to mental stress, leading to people opting for alcohol, cigarettes, or anything harmful to try to destress themselves. This builds the habit of running to these substances every time you feel stressed. Practicing mindfulness will aid in decluttering the mental stress and dealing with any challenges that come across. Living in the present moment to deal with what’s on hand is one way to deal with stress. Something that can be achieved if mindfulness becomes part of your life without injuring your health.
Often triggers are a common reason why people resort to substance abuse. That escape can be addicting as triggers can cause uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. As mindfulness can help you understand yourself on a deeper level, you will gain control over your thoughts and feelings. Some could even realize the reason for the triggers and work accordingly to resolve that. With that, what initially triggered you would not even bother you eventually. All it takes is some time and dedication to yourself to understand yourself better.
In addition to traditional therapy, mindfulness provides them with another method to help them achieve their goal. According to research, the three aspects of mindfulness – consciousness, disengagement, and interpretation – have been shown to specifically affect the regions of the brain that regulate concentration, emotion, and behavioral management. In the dependent brain, there are unstable areas of the brain. As a result, mindfulness will assist individuals with their recovery: mindfulness helps bring order to what has been unbalanced.