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When we are struggling with our cycles of addiction and mental health issues, we often have a very hard time being in the present moment. We dwell on the past and worry about the future. We replay things we find bothersome or troublesome. We give a lot of our attention and energy to the things that are stressing and worrying us. In working to recover from our emotional pain, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is learn how to embrace the moment.

Being in the moment can be especially difficult when our thoughts are racing. We often feel like we can’t control our minds, like our thoughts control us. With time, practice and meditation, however, we can actually learn to direct our thoughts and still our minds. Practicing breathing exercises while repeating specific affirmations can be especially helpful for this. When our thoughts are racing out of control, let’s try to bring our attention back to the present moment, this moment in which we are breathing in and breathing out. Focusing on our breath and deepening it as much as possible, as well as extending the exhale to make it longer than the inhale, are meditative breathing techniques that can help us to calm the anxiety causing our thoughts to race. Let’s try repeating affirmations such as “I am breathing in, and I am ok in this moment.”

Our anxiety may cause us to want to refute these calming affirmations with stressful thoughts such as, “I’m not ok. I have so much to get done. I’m so worried about the argument we had.” As much as you can, return your attention to your affirmation and your breathing. You might notice that as you give more energy to this practice, your thoughts begin to slow, you feel calmer, and the physical nervousness of your anxiety begins to subside.

As we calm ourselves to return to the present moment, we can continue this practice and extend it by bringing our attention to whatever we are grateful for in this moment. When our thoughts are scattered, or we’re feeling anxious or depressed, it can be hard to find something to be grateful for, but reach for it. Be grateful you’re able to breathe. Be grateful you’re alive. Be grateful today is another chance to heal. Reach for things that might bring you contentment in this moment – the beauty of the sunshine or the gray skies, having the support of a loved one, finding peace and stillness. Embracing the moment can be a powerful tool in our emotional recovery, and the more we practice, the easier it becomes.

At Riverside, we include meditation, mindfulness practices, therapy and other healing methods as part of our treatment programs. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.