Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness Has Demonstrated Success in a Variety of Addictions

There are a lot of different strategies out there to help with withdrawal and substance abuse. You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about mindfulness and meditation or maybe you already practice. Mindfulness-based interventions have demonstrated great success in a variety of addictions, and a few of the basic principles are discussed below.

The current teachings of mindfulness originate from ancient Zen Buddhist meditation techniques that have since been secularized. In practice, it involves actively paying attention to the present moment. It involves acceptance of the current reality with the recognition that situations ebb and flow. This practice is also inherently non-judgmental: no sensation is either good or bad, but just is1.

There are many ways to implement mindfulness that can be of service during this cessation period and beyond. If you feel your heart racing or you experience a craving, take a moment for a short deep breathing exercise. During this time try to focus your attention only on the sensation in your body with each breath. If you mind wanders, bring it back. Or you could try a mindfulness walk, where you focus on experiencing the sensations of being in nature.

In general, the basic tenets of intentionality, acceptance, and avoiding judgment coincide with the beneficial sentiments surrounding substance cessation. In fact, implementing mindfulness techniques have been shown to enhance brain activity in regions impacted by addiction. This in turn leads to improved cognitive processing and emotional regulation that results in reduced cravings, distress, and overall substance use2. It may not be for everyone but may be worth a try.

Implementing mindfulness techniques have been shown to enhance brain activity in regions impacted by addiction.