Having a balanced and healthy lifestyle can help you immensely when it comes to healing from addiction. Seeking out healthy activities that you enjoy will help you create a plan that works best for you. When you incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your recovery journey, you’ll be able to achieve lasting healing and sobriety.
Why Is a Healthy Lifestyle Necessary for Healing Addiction?
The implementation of a healthy lifestyle can aid your recovery journey in many different ways. In fact, many addiction treatment programs incorporate healthy living into their client’s treatment plans for this reason.
It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease that affects normal brain functioning and structure. As a result of these brain changes, addiction has likely impacted your lifestyle and led you down an unhealthy path. The recovery process can unravel many dangerous and harmful decisions you may have made while using substances. Now that you’re getting sober, it’s important to start incorporating healthy choices back into your life.
Exercise for Addiction Recovery
Physical exercise is a wonderful tool for addiction recovery. Studies have shown that exercise can be a potential treatment for drug abuse.
According to a 2011 study in Frontiers in Psychiatry, exercise is advocated as an “intrinsically rewarding, engaging, healthy, and safe alternative behavior.” The study found evidence to suggest that people with substance use disorder (SUD) “may derive benefits from regular exercise in terms of both general health/fitness and SUD recovery.”
Exercise and the Brain
A 2013 study in Brain Sciences found that there are “multiple mechanisms that account for the brain-enhancing effects of exercise.” One of these mechanisms includes regulations on “feel good” neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for producing euphoric feelings in your mind and body.
When a person uses substances, these “feel good” neurotransmitters are often released in very high amounts or manipulated in a way that will cause you to chase a “high.” This is why, over time, many people will feel the need to consume larger and larger amounts of drugs just to feel normal.
Exercise, on the other hand, is a natural way to release the feel-good chemicals already in your system. When you replace substance use with exercise, you will give your brain a chance to regulate these neurotransmitters and allow your brain to heal itself.
SUD can bring about many negative lifestyle changes, including irregular eating patterns and unhealthy diets. When you’re using substances, there isn’t much room to think about healthy eating because you’re so focused on your addiction.
According to Medline Plus, proper nutrition can help the process of healing from addiction. When you first stop using substances, your body will go through a lot of changes. Consuming healthy food will replenish your body, give you energy, and even help to fight off infections.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that a healthy eating plan will include “a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy or fortified soy alternatives, and protein foods.” The guidelines urge you to choose healthy eating options that are full of nutrients.
Holistic Treatment for Addiction Recovery
Holistic practices, like meditation and mindfulness, can greatly help in healing your addiction. It’s a good idea to find a quality addiction treatment center that incorporates holistic methods into its programming. When you’re involved in treatment, it can help you design a new healthy lifestyle that keeps you focused on your goals for lasting sobriety.
Mindfulness is a practice that teaches you how to live in the present moment. When you practice mindfulness, you are fully focused on the current task or activity at hand using all five senses. For those who struggle with addiction, this practice can help keep thoughts of cravings at bay, as well as feelings like guilt and shame that often come along with the healing process.
A 2018 study in Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation found that mindfulness is particularly suited for relapse prevention. The study notes that addiction, in and of itself, is a chronically relapsing condition. Mindful practices can help a person avoid relapse as well as cope with it in a healthy way if it occurs.
Meditation is a form of mindfulness in which you are focused on your breath or another element in the present moment, like sound. Meditation is all about quieting the mind and gently releasing intrusive thoughts without judgment. Research shows that meditation may be a valuable coping technique for those affected by SUD by helping them process and release unwanted thoughts, emotions, and cravings.
Consistent meditation can help you maintain good energy levels, curb anxiety, and make you an all-around happier person. Meditation is a great tool to add to your new healthy lifestyle without substances.
A balanced and healthy lifestyle also includes healthy relationships. When you are in the process of healing your addiction, it’s crucial to have people around you that support your recovery journey. You may need to let go of old friendships that revolved around substance use. It’s also important to make sure the people in your life do not enable your addiction.
A great way to find people who will understand and support your journey is through group therapy in outpatient programs. Small group therapy, in particular, will insure that your unique voice is heard and help you create strong habits for your new healthy lifestyle.
A balanced and healthy lifestyle is absolutely vital when it comes to your addiction recovery journey. Elements like exercise, healthy eating habits, mindfulness, meditation, and healthy relationships should all be part of your new, healthy lifestyle. At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, we help our clients integrate healthy lifestyles into their treatment and recovery programming. At Lighthouse, you will learn how to create your own health plan, form healthy habits, and learn how to continue your healthy lifestyle as you reintegrate back into daily life. Group therapy is a great way to form healthy relationships in recovery, and our clinical groups include no more than eight people to insure that your unique voice is heard. Call us today at (214) 396-0259.