The benefits of mindfulness and meditation have been researched for decades, and have been shown to improve not only the mental state of an individual but their quality of life. At first, meditation may seem intimidating and overwhelming. Some even find it to be an impossible task. The thought of sitting alone in silence for hours, without allowing any thoughts, does seem to be a daunting task. But alas, there is hope! This known method of meditation is not the only one nor is it the best for everyone. The goal of most typical meditation practices is to achieve mindfulness. The definition of mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. This suggests that simply to become aware of the present moment is to achieve mindfulness. Most individuals can begin to experience mindfulness through almost any form of meditation, whether it be brief, guided, lying down, standing, etc. Simply putting a cellphone down, closing your eyes, and breathing deeply for a few minutes can help one achieve a calming, thoughtful experience. Meditation can be practiced almost anywhere for any length of time. This means that one can sit still for only a few minutes and consciously breathe and just the simple notion of awareness of breath can lead to mindfulness. Mindfulness is a universally, easily accessible practice. In our technologically advanced world, we even have apps and websites to help guide individuals through their practice. The mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of mindfulness practices are why they are so frequently used in treatment and throughout recovery. Mindfulness is not only encouraged, but is often an essential part of recovery.
Taking time to be mindful helps someone in recovery to truly experience their thoughts, without any judgment or distraction. This can often lead to a new kind of vulnerability and sensitivity, which can help encourage a brighter outlook on life. Recovery can be painful, confusing, discouraging, and even seemingly hopeless. It is important that if an individual is struggling with their recovery, that they are able to sit with and understand these thoughts, which will likely lead to more open communication with others. This can lead to a hopeful, solution-based recovery that focuses on encouragement and self-reflection. As many know, those in recovery can struggle with their own thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness can help those individuals to breathe and take time to asses their wants and needs. In the busy world we live in, it is crucial to take time to focus inward rather than constantly complete task after task, without ever reflecting. While in recovery, an individual has the opportunity to truly focus on themselves through a new light. This is what the goal of mindfulness is. Allotting time to oneself to meditate for just a few minutes a day can lead to a lifetime of mindfulness.
Mindfulness actives can be done in many ways, one of which is in a group setting. This often encourages individuals to focus on their own thoughts, as they know others around them are focusing on themselves as well. Mindfulness can also be done through various other groups and activities which encourage meditation but do not require it. Ascend Healthcare not only offers and provides daily mindfulness activities but allows clients to chose their own ways to incorporate mindful aspects into their everyday life. Clients participate in a weekly mindfulness group, daily reflection, nightly meditation, and thoughtful activities including horticulture (with our very own zen garden in the backyard), art therapy, equine therapy, timeline creation, and an array of process groups. These groups help teens in recovery focus on their own thoughts, feelings, and actions and reflect on each aspect.
Ascend Healthcare provides a caring, compassionate, and mindful residential program for teens. If you or a teen you know is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, and need help, call us 310.388.3713 for a free assessment.