Sometimes we find wisdom in the most random of places. Even cats can make you look at business from a different perspective.
Our culture thrives on being busy, applauding those who are the busiest and don’t slow down for anything or anyone -- especially themselves. It has taken years for me to learn to allow myself to take time to care for and love myself. I want my kids, friends, family, colleagues to know a different way, and to feel fully supported in their needs to maintain daily balance. For instance, to regroup after a long day at school, my son needs time outside, while my daughter needs to draw or read. I encourage them both to take the time they each need for those activities each day.
The most effective way to teach is to lead by example. Below are self-care and self-love tips for you, your family members, and friends to implement during this holiday season and into the New Year.
Article Sponsored by: The Recovery Village
Recent research suggests that mindfulness, or the ability to cultivate a purposeful, non-judgmental, moment-to-moment awareness of one’s surroundings, can be a powerful force in helping people overcome drug and alcohol addiction. While the causes of addiction are complex and often personal, the driving force of most substance use is the desire to escape from the present moment.
The human drive to move toward pleasure and away from pain doesn’t just manifest itself in drug and alcohol addiction. Many people endlessly scroll through social media, binge watch Netflix and eat junk food without realizing that these are unhealthy attempts to avoid difficult emotions. But through mindfulness, it’s possible to become more aware of these behaviors, change them, embrace the present moment, and find more meaning in day-to-day experiences. If you’re someone struggling with addiction, the simple addition of self-awareness could change your life — or even save it.
Negative feelings and experiences are an unavoidable part of life. The only way to survive and thrive in spite of difficulty is to learn how to accept and find value in less-than-ideal circumstances. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. Many people who struggle with addiction believe that they have good reasons for fleeing from reality. Trauma, mental illness and physical injury are common catalysts for substance use. Circumstances outside of personal control, including family history and home environment, are often also contributing factors.
But people aren’t just the sum of external circumstances — everyone has the power to step back from their feelings and take control of their perspective. That’s where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the act of being fully and nonjudgmentally aware of the present moment, accepting and identifying any feelings, thoughts and sensations as they arise. Instead of fleeing from or mindlessly diving into these experiences, practitioners are encouraged to simply observe them, identify them and let them go. Most mindfulness practices involve some form of seated mindfulness meditation, but they can also be performed while walking, eating, speaking, listening or practicing yoga.
This kind of passive, detached awareness of inner dialogue and experiences can be incredibly beneficial to people struggling with addiction. Instead of fighting or avoiding the difficult states of mind that inevitably arise during recovery, mindfulness helps practitioners label feelings — particularly, negative ones — and learn to tolerate them. With the power of detachment, those in recovery can remain resilient and level-headed in the face of events or feelings that might otherwise trigger substance use.
Finding New Meaning in Recovery
While internal monologues and beliefs about oneself, others and the world can influence addiction, mindfulness can also be used to help individuals push back against these faulty frameworks. Many people with substance use disorder have a story that they tell themselves about their addictions. They may believe that they can’t stop using substances even if they tried to, or that they wouldn’t be able to cope with specific circumstances without consuming drugs or alcohol. Mindfulness allows people in recovery to recognize supposed truths for what they are: stories they tell themselves. In the moment that a person can see a belief for what it is, they have the power to change it.
This is why mindfulness is so successful in addressing addiction. Over time, regular mindfulness practice can completely change the way that individuals relate to their thoughts and allow them to push back against dangerous behaviors that once felt automatic. From this place of peace and stillness, people can begin to reconnect with their bodies and minds, and make more purposeful decisions about how they lead their lives.
A Florida-born and based writer for The Recovery Village, Megan Hull is driven by a desire to connect individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders with the help they need. The Recovery Village is a collection of full continuum of care drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities. With locations across the country, The Recovery Village has helped countless clients find renewed living in sobriety.
My birthday was this week, so giving back was focused on myself. And I wanted to share with you as well a special 43% off on any product or service. Another birthday surprise was being quoted in The New York Post.
Kerry Alison Wekelo, managing director of human resources and operations for Actualize Consulting and author of “Culture Infusion” (Zendoway), recommends rolling with the punches during capricious commutes.
“Simply laugh out loud, or strike up a conversation with a stranger and say something like, ‘You could not make this up if you tried.’ ” In addition, breathe deeply to relieve anxiety and stress (five mindful breaths with slow inhales and exhales).
Regarding incredulous treks home, refrain from dishing to your boss the next day, since it’s irrelevant to your workday. However, when running late in the morning, that’s another story.
Says Wekelo: “Always tell the truth even if it sounds like ‘My dog ate my homework.’ You can send a text or an e-mail to let them know the exact reason [as soon as you are above ground]. Many times, your excuse will be confirmed on social media.”
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