Some people are surprised to find that in a PHP behavioral health program, the clinicians don’t just focus on directly addressing the symptoms of addiction. A holistic PHP like the Lighthouse Recovery Partial Hospitalization Program in Dallas, TX, will go much more profound. The clinicians want to uncover the root causes of the addiction – what led to it, how you handle stress, which triggers are the strongest, etc. They also want to help change the client’s mindset and perspective so that they are mentally moving forward in a more positive place. Mindfulness training is one of many therapies used in a Partial Hospitalization Program to achieve this.
Why is Mindfulness Training a Part of Partial Hospitalization Programs?
Mindfulness training is a form of meditation. One thing that meditation can do is help us focus on the present. Focusing on the present is extremely important for our mental and emotional state. Ruminating about the past and worrying about future events that may not occur creates a lot of unnecessary stress. It can also cause negative thought patterns to form. During mindfulness training, the goal is to be in the present moment by slowing your thoughts down and bringing attention to what’s around you. Many PHP programs encourage clients to practice mindful meditation because it provides a host of benefits for people in recovery. Hundreds of studies show the benefits of meditation for our mental and physical health. When we use mindfulness training to focus on the present and be in the moment we:
- Are less stressed
- Feel happier
- Can handle pain better
- Can focus thoughts
- Are better at self-regulating
- Cope with negative emotions better
Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. This is huge for people who are dealing with addiction. Anxiety and depression are pervasive co-occurring disorders that can add a layer of complexity to addiction treatment. Research from Harvard University also found that mindfulness meditation can change gray matter in the brain, leading to improved memory, sense of self, and emotional regulation. Addiction recovery is much easier to manage when you’re in a better, more positive mental state. Mindfulness training is one of the most effective ways to get there.
What Happens During PHP Mindfulness Training?
Meditation seems very simple, but it can be challenging at first for some people. Quieting the mind can be difficult for someone who has a lot of self-talk chatter going on internally. During mindfulness training, you’ll learn to quiet the conversation so you can experience present moments more fully. You will sit quietly with your eyes closed as a guide provides verbal direction. Once you are in a comfortable seating position, you’ll begin deep breathing. Taking deep, intentional breaths brings attention to our body and has a calming effect. You are then guided to focus intently on what you are sensing at that moment. You’ll zero in on what you feel at that time and let the emotions be felt without judgment. The guide will direct you to bring your attention back to your breathing if your mind starts to wander and takes you out of the present moment. Over time with practice, you’ll get better at blocking out distractions and need less direction to bring your attention back to the present. One huge upside of mindfulness training is that once you’re taught how to do it, it can be done by anyone, anywhere, at any time. For a person in a PHP behavioral health program, this kind of tool that you can use on your own is invaluable.