Blazing or Drinking to Relieve Stress? This is a simple, 3-minute mindfulness exercise
Sometimes we can get caught up in stress or overwhelming emotion, and it can be hard to think clearly or have a healthy perspective. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or simply need to re-centre, then mindfulness can be a great tool.
The meaning of mindfulness is essentially the practice of living in the present moment and learning how to deal with and manage any intrusive negative thoughts that tend to dominate our minds over and over again.
Thoughts are so powerful and tend to strongly influence our feelings, so much so that even a small break from the cycle of cognitive despair that many people experience can be vital in helping them achieve instant relief and calmness.
This simple, free, holistic, non medicinal, yet evidence-based treatment therapy is available for everyone and anyone to access.
THE ‘3-MINUTE BREATHING SPACE’
"The '3-minute breathing space' is a highly portable mindfulness practice that I regularly teach. It provides a practical way to ‘hit the pause button’ on life, take stock of experience, ground oneself in the moment with a sense of non-judgmental self-kindness, and then to carry this openness and wider perspective forward as we then go on about our day. “It involves three basic steps:
“Pause your business and ‘doing’ mode and step into ‘being mode’ by closing your eyes (if it feels comfortable for you), and be with your experience. Check in with yourself and notice what physical sensations are present in your body. What emotions are there? What thoughts are going through your mind space?
“After taking stock, anchor yourself in the present moment by resting your attention on the movements of the breath as it enters and leaves your body. There is no need to control the breath in any way. Pay attention to the fullness of the in-breath, and the fullness of the outbreath, and the pauses in between – just gently riding the waves of your breath.
“Lastly, allow your attention to expand back outwards, by having awareness not only of the movements of your breath, but also your body and wider experience as a whole. Maintain this open, non-judgmental awareness as your carry this experience forward and go on about your day.
Feel the difference.
When we connect our mind to the physical sensation of breathing and our body we unite our system into harmony for that moment, and in each moment we return our mind to the present moment awareness.
We humans are creatures of habit, it helps to actually schedule this brief practice into our day. It might help to set a reminder on your phone. Aim to do this at least three times throughout the day. Don’t be too worried about the length of the practice; the key is to regularly pause, tune in with self-kindness, and reconnect to the present moment.
Anyone can benefit from mindfulness, and you do not necessarily need to be in recovery from addiction in order to reap its benefits. Mindfulness can be a simple, useful tool to have at your disposal, one that you can use whenever the need arises. You can also use mindfulness as part of a daily recovery schedule.
Learning to relax is a crucial skill in addiction recovery. It helps reduce stress, which also helps reduce pain, anxiety, cravings, and the physical harm associated with chronic stress.
Learning a mindfulness practice is one of the core elements of CFWWYYC's holistic addicition recovery program for substance abuse and behavior addictions.
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