Most Insurances Accepted!
Call Ardu Recovery Center Today

Addiction Treatment: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 101

Written by Brandon Okey. Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy.

Relapse can strike at any time during the recovery process, making techniques like mindfulness-based stress reduction crucial to staying on track. You need patience, dedication, a great support system, and a plan if you’re to overcome your addiction.  Getting familiar with mindfulness-based stress reduction and how it can help you during the recovery process can help you immensely on your journey to recovery. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to start practicing mindfulness in your recovery routine so that you can stay on track and avoid pitfalls during recovery.

What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction? 

Many may dismiss the idea of practices like meditation because there are misconceptions surrounding it. When people think of mindfulness meditation, they automatically think about religion or sacred practices, but this shouldn’t be the case. While there are religions out there that utilize meditation, it has always been, first and foremost, a way to get in touch with your innermost thoughts and feelings.  Scientific studies have proven time and time again that mindfulness-based reduction techniques like meditation can increase the prefrontal cortex’s functions. This is important because the prefrontal cortex is in charge of the following actions: 
  • Impulse control. 
  • Fear modulation. 
  • Decision making. 
  • Emotional regulation. 
  • Self-awareness.
Addiction can do significant damage to the prefrontal cortex, interfering with its ability to perform these crucial functions. With mindfulness exercises, you’re able to keep urges at bay. The best thing about mindfulness-based techniques is that you can perform them anywhere. 

Other Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Techniques

We’ve touched on meditation, mainly because it’s one of the most well-known forms of mindfulness techniques, but there are a few more you can practice.  Walking Meditation: This activity combines meditation and walking. It’s a great mindfulness-based method for those who may find sitting still or in one place difficult. You can do this anywhere from your neighborhood to a park, and you can even pace back and forth if you don’t feel like leaving the house. Mindful Driving: Driving has always been therapeutic for some, but you can make it a part of your mindfulness practice by taking it a step further. Rather than just focusing on the road in front of you, pay attention to things like the car’s weight beneath you, the road’s texture, how the steering wheel feels in your hands, and anything else that engages your sense.  You should also —carefully— look around at your surroundings. Take in the scenery such as trees, mountains, the sky, bodies of water, and even buildings. As you do this, make sure that you don’t have any distractions available, such as your cell phone— turn off the ringer while you practice your mindful driving.  Mindful Eating: This may seem like an odd one, but think about how people eat their meals today. Often, we have a hard time eating without watching something or scrolling through social media.  The next time you go to have a meal, turn off all distractions such as your TV and smartphone, and really focus on the food. Enjoy the textures, flavors, the aroma. Take it a step further and do the same as you cook— listen to the pan’s sizzling, feel every slice you make. All of these actions will call your sense into play and calm you as a result.  Single-Tasking: In a world where we have to do more than one thing at a time, it can get overwhelming to the point where you may begin to feel like you need a specific substance to calm your nerves and focus. But, there is always another way.  SIngle-tasking is a simple technique: all you have to do is focus on one task at a time. When you’re about to perform a task, make sure that you shift all your focus into it, ignoring everything else until you finish. This will help you free up mental space and can allow you to push aside any negative feelings, cravings, and urges.  Mindfulness-based stress reduction activities such as these are an essential tool in the recovery process, and they can even help individuals dealing with other conditions such as these:
  • ADHD.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Stress.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Anger.
  • Insomnia.
  • High blood pressure.
While many of these effects can occur in any individual, those suffering from addiction are highly likely to develop them after extended substance abuse. In these cases, using mindfulness techniques to treat these effects can make the rest of the recovery process easier to handle.

Why You Should Consider Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Lessons

While you can perform many of these activities at home, it’s crucial to understand how to engage in them properly to make them effective. You can do this by attending mindfulness-based training. Some professionals dedicate themselves to learning the best techniques and are always ready to help others do the same. It’s better to learn from an experienced practitioner than to struggle on your own. This can lead to frustration, and often, that frustration will coerce an individual into abandoning the practice— what follows after can be something as detrimental as a relapse. 

Learn About Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at Ardu Recovery Center 

These activities are things that you can practice at home, but while they may seem simple, forming a routine while battling with the effects of addiction can make mindfulness-based stress reduction results challenging to achieve.  If you’re struggling with addiction and need guidance on how you can turn your life around, contact Ardu Recovery Center. Our 80-person residential treatment facility in Provo, Utah, provides you with a much-needed support system so that you don’t have to go through recovery alone.  Not only will we teach you mindfulness techniques, but we offer a range of therapeutic treatments— we’ll walk through the process with you so that we can find a treatment option that works for your needs. Give us a call today at (801)-810-1234 to get started on your road to recovery.  
Brandon Okey

Brandon Okey is the co-founder of Ardu Recovery Center and is dedicated to empowering people on their journey to sobriety.