As we’re working towards sobriety, there are many things we can use to cope with all of the different challenges that arise. Exercise is one of the most therapeutic and beneficial among them. Our struggles with addiction cause us to neglect our physical health, along with our mental and emotional health, and exercise is a powerful way to address all three simultaneously. We tend to sacrifice our well-being for the sake of our addictions, and when we exercise, we start to reclaim our sense of self and our self-worth by prioritizing self-care. Here are some of the many ways exercise, and yoga, in particular, can help us in our recovery work.
Exercise is known for lowering stress and helping us get out of our constant, recurring thought patterns of worry, anxiety, and negativity. The endorphins and the natural boost in dopamine increase our feelings of positivity, optimism, and hopefulness. As we know, recovery is hard work, and we’re often filled with self-doubt, pessimism, and fear. Exercise can function as a natural remedy to help balance our moods and lift our spirits. When we commit to an exercise routine, we feel proud of ourselves for doing something good for our health. We feel stronger, happier, and more uplifted.
Yoga is a form of exercise that not only gives us a good physical workout but also helps us to connect with our inner selves. Because it is a form of meditation, it helps us to balance our emotions and slow our racing thoughts, showing us that we have more control over our thought patterns than we might have assumed we did. We feel more capable of focusing our thoughts in positive directions and shedding the negative, limiting thoughts that have been holding us back. We feel calmer, more in control of ourselves and our lives, and more empowered.
Sobriety forces us to find coping skills to replace all of the harmful and destructive coping mechanisms we came to rely on throughout our struggles with addiction. Exercise is one of the best coping skills we can develop, and just like with meditation, it’s the practice of it, rather than perfection, that provides the value. We don’t have to be competitive athletes, or even have rigorous workouts all the time. We just need to get our bodies moving and our hearts pumping in order to see numerous health benefits. If we exercise outdoors, we’re getting the added stress-relieving benefits of being in the fresh air, along with more groundedness from being connected to nature.
Riverside Recovery believes in the importance of holistic healing and education, mindfulness and mind-body-spirit wellness. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information on our treatment programs.