How mindfulness works

Your decision to change the course of your life is not an easy one. It means truly taking responsibility for your past actions and cleaning up the mess that has collected during your addiction. It comes with a new understanding that you are the creator of your life experience.

It also gives you incredible power. Power to work through the ups and downs of your life instead of running from them. This power comes with discipline and applied attention to areas of pain and suffering so you can learn how to handle them without the need for a substance in order to find relief. Relief can be found, and the power to do so comes from the space within you that can be detached from emotions or thoughts.

You begin to do this when you practice mindfulness. To be mindful means having more attention placed in your everyday experience, drawing it from being “lost in thought” to being fully present in the moment. Start with your morning routine. Pay attention to every little thing you do, instead of following your usual thought trains. Gently bring your attention back to whatever you are physically doing whenever you find your mind wandering about. Do things slowly and deliberately. When you get out of bed. When you brush your teeth. When you get your breakfast. When you’re conversing with others.

Don’t seek to stop your thoughts completely; try to notice whenever your mind wanders off. Even if it’s just for a few seconds, bring your attention back to whatever it is that you’re doing. Every time you notice yourself daydreaming, you’re on the right track because this needs to happen often, no matter how short or small. You are literally breaking the chain reaction in your brain that has built up over the years, keeping you in compulsive thought patterns. Habits often take a good 30 days to develop. This is the average time it takes for your biology to reflect its adjustment to your recent actions. So, the more you apply this gentle attention to everyday activities, it will naturally get easier over time to “break free” from more intense emotional situations or hysterical thought patterns.