How Mindfulness Meditation Can Reduce Anxiety
At Southeast Addiction, we truly believe recovery starts at an individual level. We pride ourselves on being the support system that many people who are embarking on a path to sobriety can rely on as they receive treatment as well as come to understand how to structure their new, sober life. What is addiction but a massive crutch and a maladaptive coping strategy? In a sense, stress and anxiety are at the root of many harmful addictions. Mindfulness meditation has received an enormous amount of attention and backing by credible institutions in the past decade for its ability to help reduce anxiety and stay grounded.
What is Anxiety, Really?
The simplest way to put it is that anxiety is an emotional state that is brought on by stress. Fixating on a particular event in a negative manner causes anxiety and stress. While that seems overly simplistic, the parameters of that event are broad. For example, the very idea of worrying about the stress that you are going to experience in the future, gives you stress as well.
The problem with stress is that it is amplified by something called metacognition. Metacognition is in simple terms, thinking about thinking. When you do that, it becomes a highly strenuous mental exercise that creates mental fatigue and ironically, more stress. We tend to believe that we can think our problems away and that if we contemplate them for a bit longer, we’ll come to a solution. This is seldom the case, and with enough anxiety, we may begin to fear that we will be anxious in the future. This fear of anxiety is what takes normal, everyday anxiety to a higher level.
In the case of addiction treatment, it’s not unusual to see many people in recovery who are also suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder. It is a well-known fact that addiction has high comorbidity with various mood disorders. All of this ends up illuminating the fact that addiction is in part driven by faulty coping mechanisms to stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness Meditation for Recovery
Mindfulness meditation strikes at the heart of anxiety—the fear of anxiety itself. You may have heard the concept of disassociation; when someone is undergoing a stressful moment or an episode of anxiety, it is a common response to begin disassociating from the experience. In other words, when you experience something stressful repeatedly, it is a well-known reaction to “check out”, so to speak. While this can help you avoid the immediate reality and pain of the situation, when disassociation becomes a habit you lose track of reality.
Mindfulness practice refocuses your mental habits and attention on being present in the moment. Not just to what is happening around you, but to the very basic elements of existence. You learn to disassociate but in a different way. Instead of avoiding things that make you feel bad, you note them without judgment and refrain from attaching to them any personal value. Stress is just a feeling, sadness is a fleeting thing, and happiness is also a feeling that arises spontaneously.
When you realize that you were never truly in control of your thoughts and feelings—that all things are merely reactions to phenomena that you have no control over, you become more kind to yourself, and more forgiving. This is a critical component to recovery. Being able to forgive yourself for your addiction and work towards a healthier lifestyle is one of the most essential parts to getting sober.
If you read our article on blame, you know that blaming yourself for what has already happened seldom ever helps you move in a more productive direction.
Addiction Treatment in Georgia
At Southeast Addiction, we use many different but equally effective approaches to treating addiction. We offer an outpatient program in a comfortable and professional setting. We provide an intensive outpatient program for those who need a little more involvement, and lastly, we offer a partial hospitalization program in which therapy sessions and groups are held daily.
No matter what your needs are, Southeast Addiction can help you succeed and achieve sustainable recovery (view past testimonials here).
If you are located in Georgia, we can provide the best drug rehab treatment near you. Contact us today at 770-637-9013 to get the help you or a loved one deserves!
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