Establishing a foundation of emotional mindfulness can be a major deterrent from the self-destructive and addictive cycles that so many of us fall into. We can practice emotional mindfulness in our daily lives, and the more we incorporate it into our regular routine, the more we can benefit from it. Developing our emotional intelligence and mindfulness allows us to have healthier relationships with ourselves and our loved ones.
An important lesson in developing emotional mindfulness is recognizing that our emotions aren’t “good” or “bad.” All of our feelings, whether they feel positive or negative to us in the moment, serve a purpose. Some might be more challenging and difficult than others. Anger feels destabilizing and stressful, for example, while excitement feels light and wondrous. Anger and other difficult emotions can serve us in our evolution, though, if we’re open to learning from them. They can provide us with the guidance and direction we need to grow.
Mindfulness teaches us acceptance. We learn to allow our feelings to be what they are without trying to change them. Importantly, we learn how to sit with them and let them be with us. What we most often do with these tough feelings is run from them, avoid them, bury them, numb them, try to escape them, or do everything we can to distract ourselves from them. Practicing mindfulness exercises such as meditation, breathing exercises, visualization and journaling help us to learn how to accept and allow our feelings rather than resorting to all the other avoidance techniques that often contribute to our addictions.
With the acceptance that comes with mindfulness, we learn how to monitor and control our emotional responses and reactions. When we’re confronted with stressful events, moments of crisis and unexpected circumstances, we’re more likely to be able to respond calmly and rationally. Mindfulness helps us to focus on the solutions we can come up with, rather than dwelling on the problem. We learn to respond to our triggers in healthier ways. Instead of turning to our addictive drugs and behaviors of choice when we are triggered, mindfulness teaches us to accept the emotions we’re feeling, to sit with them until they pass, and to move forward using what they’ve taught us. Where we might have once gotten caught up in reactivity and created more difficulty for ourselves, mindfulness allows us to navigate a smoother resolution.
Self-destructiveness and addiction rely on our inability to handle our difficult emotions. Practicing mindfulness can be our tool for emotional self-empowerment.
At Riverside Recovery, we recognize the benefits of mindfulness education and holistic healing. Both are an important part of our recovery treatment programs. Call (800) 871-5440 today.