Setting aside time to mindfully meditate is very beneficial. But what is even more helpful for those with addiction problems, is to live mindfully, always. At work, school, at home, or even when eating, there are moments you can practice mindfulness. The reason mindfulness in everyday life is so beneficial, especially to those with addiction problems, is because cravings, unhealthy urges and negative thoughts happen to us in unpredictable ways and in unpredictable situations – often when we are caught off guard.
Learning to live mindfully and learning to use it everyday, allows us to take mindfulness techniques with us, wherever we go and whatever we do.
When a craving pops into your mind at work, acknowledge it, analyze it, refute its validity and then redirect your attention to something else, such as a specific work task and let this new task absorb your attention.
These principles of mindfulness can be generalized to almost any situation where negative emotions, thoughts or desires try to creep in and influence and alternate our otherwise peaceful living.
You are not too busy to incorporate mindfulness into your day. You can dedicate short intervals of your time, even spending just one minute completely focusing on your breathing or the sounds of your external world, and nothing else. When you do this, you’ll find that sustained attention for just one minute, is more difficult as it sounds, and that is a good thing, this is where your brain changes over time.
Try to focus just a whole uninterrupted minute of your breathing. If thoughts distract you in this one minute, acknowledge them and then redirect back onto your breathing. You can learn so much about yourself in that one minute.
Mindful eating, is another example. It has beneficial effects to both our physical and mental well-being. Most of us probably eat a meal while engaging in other activities such as watching tv, listening to music or having a conversation with someone.
But mindful eating involves us to observe our eating in a whole new way. To give special attention to our eating, something we probably are not use to. Sit down and do nothing but focusing on the sensation of eating. When you do this, you are not so directed toward your thoughts this time, as you are directing your attention to the piece of food that you choose to eat, how it looks, how you cut it, how it smells, how you eat it, the texture and how it tastes. Let eating absorb your attention.
Be fully engaged in mindfully eating. Chew your food slowly and become aware of how you eat each piece. When you do this exercise you may find how much better food seems to taste. You may also be surprised at how filling your food becomes. Something so overlooked with today’s distractions is the awareness of body and mind engaged in everyday activities.
This practice is not only good for our cognition, but is very good for our digestion.
Another great exercise is mindful walking. When you go on a mindful walk you concentrate on the sensations of walking. You feel the ground as you step. What does it feels like as the bottom of your foot makes contact with the ground? How is your body moving? What are the noises in the external world? Just let the present moment of walking absorb your attention.
Again, negative thoughts or negative emotions may try to take root, but quickly acknowledge them and redirect your attention and become more mindful of the things around you and the sensations it produces.
You may notice sensations such as wind or the sun on your skin. Become aware of these things and simply just enjoy your moment. This is helpful for anyone that is dealing with a craving or a strong emotion. Just go take a walk outside and become mindfully engaged in your environment.
Sure thoughts will try to creep in, but just acknowledged them and quickly redirect your attention to the present moment sensations that you are experiencing.
When we are mindful, we are self-aware. The more we practice these simple techniques we change the brain resulting in having greater control over our emotions and thoughts. Research shows that using mindful techniques also decreases stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Negative emotional states are replaced by feeling happy, grateful, hopeful, content and satisfied.
By this practice, people who have used mindfulness meditation gain greater control over their emotional reactions and are better able to redirect their attention at will, an invaluable benefit to those that struggle with addiction, OCD and under emotional distress.
Everyone has the capacity to become aware of themselves and to be mindful. It just requires effort.
Mindfulness practices are so very helpful because you can use them to create freedom in yourself. Someone may have called you a jerk. Your boss may have said hurtful things against you. You may experience cravings on a daily basis. When all and everything in life seems to be turning upside down, you can still find peace. It is a very empowering practice that anyone can benefit from.