Get More Out Of Treatment With Mindfulness

An important aspect of drug addiction treatment and outpatient therapy is mindfulness. Mindful thinking allows you to appreciate and live in the present, without getting distracted by past experiences or future assumptions. Many counselors and providers offer mindfulness practice, but there are some simple exercises that you can do on your own, and that can improve the quality of everyday life.

Practice mindfulness using the following techniques:

Positive imagery.

When stressful situations occur, it can lead to potential for relapse which makes it necessary to develop some coping strategies. One of these tactics is to conjure up positive images, visions, or thoughts to distract from the stressor and help combat the craving to use. Often times smell can be helpful in bringing positive images to mind, and you may want to keep a bottle of essential oil nearby that reminds you of a pleasant experience, fond memory, or positive place.

Re-framing negativity.

In treatment, individuals can be their own worst enemy by engaging in negative self-talk, which basically sabotages and taints any experience, including pleasant or satisfying ones. This negative chatter is often referred to as "stinking thinking" and therapists will ask you to re-frame negative statements into positive messages. Over time, it will become second nature to recognize negative self-talk and quickly alter the tone and content of your words and thoughts.

Live in the present.

Mindfulness includes living in the present moment, without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This gets rid of any opportunity to speculate or stress about situations or experiences that are in the past or that may not happen at all. This self-induced stress often brings about a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, which can lead to relapse in recovery.

Practice gratitude.

When you begin to adopt a mindset of gratitude, you begin to take stock of all the good things in life that might be easy to overlook. When you see all of the blessings that you do have in your life, it can be an effective way to stop dwelling on things that may be less satisfying in your life. This can also help to put small setbacks or disappointments in perspective, as very small parts of a much larger picture.

Many providers recommend mindfulness to individuals in treatment, because it can modify negative thought patterns that may have typically led to using drugs or alcohol. Try these techniques, practice focusing on the here-and-now, living in the present and appreciating the simple things in life. Over time, it will be easier to re-frame negative thoughts and practice positive imagery, which may be an effective coping strategy when cravings or stress occur.  For more information, go to