July 01, 2023 By Leah Malone

Using Mindfulness in Your Journey of Treatment


Mindfulness techniques provide various benefits, including reduced stress and increased self-confidence. People are more likely to succeed with treatment and recovery when using mindfulness techniques. According to the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy, “[M]indfulness supports recovery by weakening the substance use cycle that leads to relapse.” As one develops new habits of mind, the old habits fall away.

Emerge Recovery TX uses mindfulness-based techniques to help clients heal from the effects of substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring mental health issues. When women use mindfulness during rehabilitation, this often leads to smoother transitions between stages of care and reduced symptom severity.

Using Mindfulness to Overcome Challenges in Recovery

According to the Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation journal, “The state of mindfulness is cultivated during mindfulness practice and is characterized by a non-judgmental, non-reactive, present-centered attention and metacognitive awareness of cognition, emotion, sensation, and perception.” In other words, mindfulness allows people to feel, experience, and grow by focusing on the present nonjudgmentally.

Mindfulness is often used in therapy to help women in recovery accomplish the following:

  • Feeling more grounded and present
  • Experiencing less stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms
  • Keeping thoughts and emotions focused on everyday experiences rather than on the past or future
  • Improving focus and more easily drawing attention to specific objects, people, or ideas

Long-term sobriety requires dedication and focus. Mindfulness makes it easier to stay present and motivated as a person moves through the day. Many people have noticed positive changes after practicing mindfulness consistently. After a few weeks of practicing mindfulness, people may view themselves and their circumstances more healthily.

The Benefits of Using Mindfulness During Treatment and Aftercare

Mindfulness-based techniques are easy to incorporate into everyday activities. People can practice mindfulness while doing the following:

  • Walking the dog
  • Doing the dishes
  • Meditating
  • Eating a meal
  • Spending time with loved ones

Mindfulness involves focusing on thoughts, sensations, feelings, or activities. With mindfulness, women can let themselves feel without expectations. Regularly practicing mindfulness trains one’s brain to remain calm and focused. What’s more, the benefits of mindfulness are cumulative. A person’s mental health will improve as they practice mindfulness-based exercises.

4 Ways Women in Recovery Heal Using Mindfulness

The intensive outpatient program (IOP) and outpatient program (OP) at Emerge Recovery TX provide safe spaces for practicing mindfulness. In these programs, skilled clinicians encourage women to explore new interests and grow more skillful through mindfulness practices. At Emerge, you’ll have access to the resources and tools you need to build essential coping skills like mindfulness. Below are four ways you can use mindfulness to heal during recovery.

#1. Mindfulness Meditation and Self-Care

Your self-care routine in IOP and OP may include mindfulness-based techniques like guided meditation or quiet moments of contemplation. According to the newsletter NIH News in Health, “[M]indfulness doesn’t have to be done sitting still or in silence. You can integrate the practice into daily things, like walking or eating. You can also be mindful while interacting with others.” One suggestion is to set aside five to 15 minutes daily for mindfulness meditation.

#2. Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises

The diaphragm is a muscle at the base of the lungs. Through breathing exercises or physical activity, you can consciously manipulate the diaphragm to empty your lungs and facilitate deeper breathing. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “[E]mpirical studies have revealed that diaphragmatic breathing may trigger body relaxation responses and benefit both physical and mental health.”

Diaphragmatic breathing exercises can automatically benefit you in the following ways:

  • Decreasing your blood pressure
  • Increasing your sense of relaxation
  • Reducing your heart rate

Diaphragmatic breathing is especially beneficial for women with co-occurring anxiety disorders. By providing the body with more oxygen, these breathing exercises induce feelings of calm and bring focus to the mind. If you’re interested in these benefits, your therapist can teach you several forms of diaphragmatic breathing.

#3. Practicing Gratitude and Positivity

Mindfulness brings positivity to your day-to-day life and reduces the anxiety and negativity you may typically feel. As you become more present, you will be less likely to catastrophize about what could happen. Being grateful for where you are today and accepting your circumstances keeps your thoughts positive. Staying positive reduces the risk of relapse.

A few ways you can practice gratitude and improve positivity include:

  • Making a list of positive experiences and thoughts
  • Expressing thankfulness when people treat you kindly
  • Sharing what you feel grateful for with your loved ones and peers
  • Recording positive sayings or quotes and displaying them in your environment
  • Being mindful of how you treat others and practicing grace during conflicts

Your gratitude and positivity impact the lives of the people around you. Everyone in your social circle and family will benefit from your choice to use mindfulness techniques to focus on positivity.

#4. Using Mindfulness and Spiritual Support

If you’re a woman of faith, you may feel uncertain about incorporating your spiritual or religious beliefs into recovery. When you use mindfulness, this can help strengthen your involvement in your faith. You may notice a new sense of focus that makes participating in activities like fellowship with peers and faith leaders easier.

As you become more mindful, you may feel a renewed interest in extending your support system. This is a good thing, as having a solid support system reduces the risk of relapse. You can find spiritual and religious recovery programs, groups, and organizations in most cities. Mindfulness can help you feel more comfortable reaching out to the community members who share your faith.

Mindfulness is an essential tool in recovery. You can use mindfulness to reduce stress, improve overall health, and increase the effectiveness of therapy or other treatments. Women who are struggling with trauma and co-occurring mental health disorders benefit from using mindfulness to stay in the moment and reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, or panic. The care team at Emerge Recovery TX will guide you through learning to use mindfulness during everyday activities. You have the power to take back control of your life. By choosing to focus on the present, you will reduce the risk of relapse. To learn more about how our clinicians can help you recover from substance use disorder (SUD), call our office today at (737) 237-9663.

About Author

Leah Malone

Learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings can be painful and disturbing at times. When Leah was able to see her behavior patterns and decided there was enough pain to be disturbed, she became motivated to make changes and accept the work that needed to be done to heal. She needed direction and had no clue how to heal on her own. Through a connection with God, authentic connection with others, honesty, willingness, and humility, Leah is now in recovery from addiction and trauma.

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