Mindfulness is a great tool to have in your recovery toolbox. Some may think that mindfulness is a difficult thing to master that takes long hours of sitting cross-legged with closed eyes, but they’d be wrong! You can practice mindfulness anywhere and at any time. You can even do it in 5 minutes! Anyone can harness the power of mindfulness. You just have to actually believe that you can do it, going into it with an open mind and motivation to do your best. Today, take these 5 mindfulness tips and use them to your advantage!
Minute 1: Breath
Begin your mindfulness routine by taking a deep breath. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your eyes gently closed. As you take deep breaths, feel your back straight up against the chair, feel your feet on the floor, and feel the peace within you as your eyes are shut. Once you take note of your bodily sensations, take an even deeper breath from your belly. Inhale and feel the air come up through your body, then exhale and feel yourself let go of the air. Continue this for a minute, being intentional with your breath.
Minute 2: Pace
Finding the right breathing pace is important because you want to fall into a rhythm of comfortable breathing. You don’t want short and shallow breaths, but you don’t want long and labored breaths either. Take note of how you feel when you have found your comfortable breathing pace. Keep this pace for another minute, focusing only on the air that is coming in and going out of your body.
Minute 3: Focus
Staying focused on your breathing throughout the next minute is important. By this time, you might have some thoughts that flow into your mind that seem random. Don’t rush to push them out of your head, but also don’t let them linger. Take note of your thoughts, but withhold judging them. It can be difficult to acknowledge your thoughts without delving into them because we are so used to giving attention to our thoughts. Keep your focus during this minute, letting your thoughts come and go without paying them any mind.
Minute 4: Relax
You’ve been breathing deeply and watching for pace, focusing all your attention on these things for three minutes. Now, it’s time to relax. Release your focus and sit calmly. You may have an urge to get up and do that chore that was nagging you while you were being mindful of your breath. Let the thought of the chore go. You can worry about that later. Remind yourself that you aren’t to do anything, fix anything, or change anything. For right now, just be.
Minute 5: Gratitude
This last minute is the home stretch. During this minute, find something that you are grateful for. Think about that piece of gratitude, and let it take you to how you are physically feeling. Are you feeling relaxed? Are you feeling rested? Once you have come back to your bodily sensations, allow yourself to go on through your day with the focus that you deserve.
Keep in Mind…
It’s important to keep in mind throughout your day that you will benefit from paced breathing. You don’t want short and shallow or long and labored breaths. With deep breathing, you can ease your stress without much thought. This type of breathing has been linked with giving you the energy you need to flourish and lowering your heart rate to a steady place where you can thrive. Take note of how you breathe the next time you are in a stressful situation. Our breathing usually changes, and some people even hold their breath for longer periods of time when they are stressed. Slow down your breathing to a normal place and allow yourself to decrease your stress and increase the relaxation you feel. This can be done through three types of breathing:
· Belly breathing
Belly breathing helps you to breathe deep from your belly, letting yourself inhale the breath then exhale the breath to where you can feel it in your abdomen.
· Focused breathing
Focused breathing helps when your mind is loud and you need to help quiet it down, like if you are tossing and turning in the middle of the night. To do this, you can repeat a positive mantra in your head while you breathe, saying the mantra whenever an errant thought pops into your mind.
· Alternate-nostril breathing
Alternate-nostril breathing is most beneficial in the mornings when you wake up and in the evenings when you go to sleep. This technique helps you soothe yourself, calm your mind, and help you focus.
Lighthouse Recovery Texas is here to help you find a place to implement mindfulness during your recovery. We have the tools to help teach you. We offer many programs that can be beneficial to you. Contact us now for more information or with any questions you may have. We can’t wait to speak with you!