Addiction can affect your ability to take on opportunities, embark on hobbies and develop new skills, manage responsibilities and more. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, addiction activates neurons in the brain in an abnormal way compared to natural neurotransmitters in the brain. Drugs affect the brain by causing a surge of dopamine to be released, which is what takes a person away from the present moment and into a whirlwind of thoughts about craving, obtaining and using substances. Mindfulness is a core part of addiction recovery because it gives people back much of what they lost when addiction was active: the present moment.
Sarah Bowen, a researcher who has spent much of her career studying mindfulness, told the University of California, Berkeley that mindfulness involves cultivating present-moment, nonjudgmental awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings and surroundings.
A 2018 study published in the journal Addiction Science & Clinical Practice sought to understand mindfulness – embracing the present moment – and how it impacts those in addiction recovery. The researchers emphasized that practicing mindfulness could help boost engagement for those in recovery. Furthermore, the American Psychological Association (APA) reminds us that mindfulness can:
- Reduce our stress levels
- Decrease emotional reactivity, which often comes with anxiety, depression and more
- Increases our focus
- Improves memory and cognitive flexibility
- Enhances our relationships with others
- Less rumination
Mindfulness exercises are often learned in therapy and group activities as well as 12-Step programs, which truly set up those in recovery for a more structured, supported path. One individual shared their experience with mindfulness via HR Zone. She stated,
“[Mindfulness] has helped me see and understand my helpful and unhelpful habitual ways of thinking and behaving which in turn has helped me respond differently, more kindly and compassionately to myself, others and life’s challenges.”
If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery today, speak with someone from Cumberland Heights.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.
Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.