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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating addiction and mental health disorders that may accompany it–that includes treating the whole person–and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since addiction and mental illness affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program that includes mindfulness meditation, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
What is Mindfulness? 
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that incorporates a mind-body approach to help people manage their thoughts, feelings, and mental health. Individuals who practice this form of meditation purposely redirect their attention to the present moment and accept their thoughts without judgment.  This practice has roots in Buddhism, but it’s not exclusive to this religion. Most religions include some form of prayer or mindfulness technique that helps shift people’s thoughts away from their everyday preoccupations toward an appreciation of the present. However, it’s important to note that anyone of any background can practice mindfulness. 
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and he helped bring mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. He demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements to both a person’s physical and psychological state. Here are his findings: Mindfulness enhances well-being: People who practice mindfulness meditation have an increased capacity to live a satisfying life. Those who are mindful have an easier time savoring life’s pleasures as they occur, are fully engaged in activities, and can better cope with life’s adversities. By staying in the present, many people who meditate find they’re less likely to get caught up in irrational worries or regrets. Additionally, they’re less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, helping them forge stronger relationships with others. Mindfulness improves physical health: Mindfulness can help people with stress relief, treat heart disease, lower their blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and aid with gastrointestinal difficulties.  Mindfulness improves mental health: In recent decades, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an element of treatment to help their patients cope with several problems, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some professionals combine mindfulness meditation with cognitive behavioral therapy since both treatment modalities share the goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, self-loathing thoughts. 
Mindfulness Meditation Techniques
There are multiple ways a person can practice mindfulness; the goal of every technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by paying attention to thoughts without judgment. Here are a few popular mindfulness meditation techniques: Basic mindfulness meditation: Sit or lie down in a quiet room. Focus on your natural breathing patterns or a mantra that you can repeat silently. Allow thoughts to pass, and return your focus on your breath or mantra.  Sensory: Notice sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and touches without judgment.  Emotions: Allow emotions to be present without criticism. Practice a steady naming of emotions: “joy,” “frustration,” “discomfort.” Accept these emotions without judgment and let  them go.  When used in conjunction with other holistic therapies, mindfulness meditation can help individuals combating addiction and mental illness, find stability. A combination of mindfulness meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication can help people reclaim their lives.