There is no question regarding the benefit and power of meditation and healthy habits for women in recovery. It is not for nothing that many recovery programs include workshops on developing mindfulness, encouraging healthy habits in daily life, and creating space for self-care throughout the recovery process. Both meditation and healthy habits can be extremely beneficial in keeping women on track with their recovery, especially after they have left a more formal rehab facility or program.
According to one government report on introducing meditation-based interventions for addiction treatment, mindfulness can be defined as “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.” This form of attention is primarily reached through practicing meditation – setting aside time to refocus on your thoughts and your feelings without any outside distractions. Even this simple definition of mindfulness and meditation shows that the practice holds great promise for building healthy habits for women in recovery.
Realizing the Power of Meditation for Women in Recovery
Meditation has been shown to be a healthy supplement during women’s recovery from addiction or alcoholism. This is because the vast majority of someone’s energy during recovery is either on getting hold of their drug of choice or rehabilitating from the effects of the same drug. While focusing on the latter certainly has a place in recovery, only doing that will soon become exhausting. The power of meditation for women in recovery lies in the fact that it allows individuals the opportunity to focus on the present moment, without any distractions or ulterior motives.
“The challenge to altering addictions is the fear that you can’t change which can push you into denial and cause you to minimize the consequences of your unproductive behaviors. Whatever you discover about yourself and however painful your discovery, dramatic breakthroughs are always possible. Research on mindfulness meditation indicates that qualities we once thought immutable that form temperament and character can actually be altered significantly. By retraining your mind through mindfulness practice, you create new neural networks. By building new neural connections among brain cells, we rewire the brain, and with each new neural connection, the brain is actually learning. As a result, our self-awareness and mood stability increase as our harsh judgments of others and ourselves decrease.”
~ Dr. Ronald Alexander, writing for Psychology Today
There are several different ways to put the idea of mindfulness and meditation in recovery into practice. Based on several different sources, this is our suggested approach for practicing mindfulness through meditation in recovery:
- Find a quiet place
- Sit quietly with your back straight
- Close your eyes
- Focus on being in the moment, without giving into judgment for what comes to mind.
- Focus in on your breathing, inhale and exhale slowly
- If your thoughts start to wander, slowly bring your attention back to your breathing
- Start with just five minutes, and then slowly build up to twenty minutes or more each day
Building Healthy Habits for Women in Recovery
The addiction treatment process is really only the beginning of the road to recovery. Rehab facilities and formal addiction treatment programs are extremely effective in helping addicts and alcoholics detox, starting them out on the right foot when it comes to recovery. However, it is up to the individual in recovery (and the supportive community around them) to keep healthy habits during recovery, even after rehab or treatment has finished. While there are many different healthy habits to keep in account, some of the best ways for women to stay healthy in recovery are to:
– Stay Active: Being both physically and mentally active during recovery helps you stay focused on yourself, rather than on your cravings or social pressures. This can include anything from going on a daily jog to developing new interests and hobbies.
– Stay Healthy: There is almost nothing better for your recovery process than to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. This can mean eating when you are hungry, getting enough sleep, and ensuring that you eat enough nutritional foods each day.
– Stay Focused: Your primary goal in recovery is to take care of yourself, and it is crucial to stay focused on this goal. Make space and time for self-care, and avoid getting distracted by social pressures. Even more specifically, you can set short-term and meaningful goals for yourself that point you toward your own sobriety and increased happiness.
Meditation for recovery is extremely powerful, and keeping healthy habits in your life are helpful in recovery. However, there is no question that overcoming addiction or alcoholism completely can be a difficult process. Thankfully, you do not have to go through it alone. Do not hesitate to contact us today if you would like more information about women’s recovery from addiction or alcoholism. Ultimately we are here to help those struggling with addiction in any form, and intensive rehab can be the best way to get started on mindfulness and creating healthy habits in your life. Alternatively, if you have a story to share about the power of meditation and healthy habits for women in recovery, feel free to leave a comment in the section below.
Aleksandra Zgierska. (2010, October)> Mindfulness Meditation for Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2800788/