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Alongside evidence-based modalities and clinical approaches to treatment, most clients benefit from a holistic care plan. When we discuss holistic addiction treatment, we are talking about treatment that does not only treat the addiction; rather holistic care treats the mind, body, and soul. An excellent way to do that is to utilize evidence-based modalities alongside alternative practices like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Doing so improves an overall treatment plan and may even help reduce relapse triggers throughout recovery. 

Many addiction treatment modalities encourage people in recovery to practice mindfulness. Doing so can help individuals improve self-awareness, reduce stress, and avoid common relapse triggers. Today, we will explore how mindfulness helps reduce relapse triggers even further. That includes how it can help people succeed during treatment and maintain long-term recovery. For individuals struggling to practice mindfulness and avoid relapse, consider reaching out to West Coast Recovery Centers for help today. 

What Is Mindfulness and How Can You Practice It?

In short, mindfulness is a type of meditation. Its principal purpose is to help individuals focus on being fully aware and present in the moment. Learning to pay close attention to things in the present moment can be challenging. By nature, we tend to worry about the future or the past, spending countless hours trying to control uncontrollable things. Doing this causes us to miss out on the present. In other words, we are so busy planning life that we forget to actually live it. Mindfulness helps correct these behaviors. 

According to NIH News in Health, mindfulness helps you become “aware of what’s going on inside and around you, ” including your “thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment.” The goal of mindfulness is to ”observe these moments without judgment.” 

Mindfulness programs are more commonly implemented nationally because of their healing benefits. That includes its ability to treat anxiety, depression, stress, high blood pressure, and insomnia, to name a few. It may also help individuals regulate their thoughts and emotions, improve attention, and reduce burnout. 

The beauty of mindfulness is that it comes in many shapes and sizes. That means practicing it looks different for everyone. Some may focus on breathwork and traditional meditation methods, such as body scanning or sitting breathwork. Others may prefer a more active approach to mindfulness and take up yoga, hiking, or walking. How people can practice mindfulness are endless, and they may even help those in addiction treatment. 

Where Does Mindfulness Fit Into Addiction Recovery?

As mentioned, mindfulness plays a significant role in improving mental health, but what role can it play in the treatment of substance use disorder (SUD)? Well, mindfulness can be a powerful tool in helping people obtain sobriety. 

Individuals struggling with substance use typically spend an excessive amount of time trying to escape the present moment. Mindfulness counteracts that by training them to return to being in the present moment and experiencing all life has to offer. 

Additionally, mindfulness also helps those in recovery regulate their emotions, emotions they may otherwise avoid through substance use. Along with being present, individuals in recovery can learn healthy coping mechanisms and manage complex emotions or experiences without substance use. 

Learning to practice mindfulness during treatment can significantly improve your journey. Specifically, it can help you manage cravings, triggers, and the potential for relapse you may experience in your life post-treatment. 

Understanding the Potential for Relapse Triggers

Life post-treatment comes with an array of unique challenges. Integrating back into daily life is a transition in itself, but when you account for potential relapse triggers, it can become more complicated. 

Experiencing triggers and cravings can be expected as part of the recovery process. Some common relapse triggers you may experience include: 

  • Feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT) 
  • Personal, professional, or financial stress 
  • Physical health conditions 
  • Co-occurring mental disorders 
  • Social isolation from friends, family, or peers 
  • Complex emotions such as shame, guilt, or sadness 
  • Toxic and unhealthy interpersonal relationships 
  • Social situations that present triggers, such as parties or living close to a bar 

These triggers may present themselves to you early in recovery or years later. The key is being well-prepared to combat them with a relapse prevention plan. Incorporating mindfulness into that plan may be an effective way to success. 

How Can Mindfulness Reduce the Intensity of Relapse Triggers?

Again, mindfulness helps with emotional regulation and reduction of mental health symptoms. Yet, it can also play a significant role in reducing the intensity of relapse triggers. For example, mindfulness can do this by:

  • Increasing your self-awareness, helping you recognize the signs of negative emotions or thinking patterns that may lead to relapse
  • Creating healthier outlooks, allowing you to accept your situation from a non-judgemental perspective, and offering clear insights into how you can prevent future relapse
  • Fostering a healthy learning habit that teaches you mindfulness techniques to manage cravings and cope with stress 
  • Growing your ability to perceive and recognize relapse triggers – including people, places, and situations – that may lead to intense cravings, risky behaviors, and, ultimately, relapse. 

If you are struggling with treatment or recovery, know you are not alone. Millions of others are fighting the same battle and find comfort in their ability to stay present in the moment. Believe it or not, focusing on the present moments you experience helps facilitate a long-term life of recovery. Contact West Coast Recovery Centers to begin facilitating your own life of long-term sobriety today. 

Life post-treatment comes with many unique challenges. Individuals must sometimes cope with financial stress, interpersonal conflicts, and toxic relationships upon reintegrating into daily life post-treatment. Treatment is an excellent time for individuals to develop coping skills that can help them manage these challenges and reduce the risk of relapse triggers. One way to do this is by practicing mindfulness. This may include meditating, practicing yoga, or engaging in breathwork; yet the ultimate goal is to train yourself to be present in each and every moment of your life instead of worrying about the future or things you can not control. Contact West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 to start your journey toward a life of mindfulness and recovery today!