Being present allows a person to stay in the here and now rather than focusing and spending energy on the past and future. The term for living in the present and applying this approach is mindfulness. Mindfulness, when utilized during mental health treatment and recovery, can be a useful tool for people who are wanting to minimize the effects of their mental health issues like addiction, trauma, eating disorders, and more. So, what are some mindfulness practices to use during mental health treatment and recovery to work to stay in the present moment?
Remember That Staying Mindful is Intentional
Remaining in the present moment and continuously utilizing mindfulness in mental health treatment and recovery isn’t something that just comes naturally. It’s something that has to be practiced and applied every day. So, remembering this can help you work to apply mindfulness in everyday situations. What is easy is to think and worry about the past and future, so being intentional about your thoughts is what is most challenging.
The Problem With Not Living in the Present During Mental Health Recovery
Our minds are built to remember things and prepare for the future. But, this can be challenging for a person who is dealing with mental health issues. For example, our minds are designed to remember situations in our past in which we may have made the wrong decision in order to protect us from making these decisions again. Or, our minds look to what we need to do in our future to make us more successful. However, for a person in recovery, looking to the past or future may be overwhelming and take up too much time away from what matters most – healing in the present. This is why it’s so important for people in mental health recovery to utilize mindfulness practices in order to remain present.
Mindfulness Practices to Use to Stay Present
While mindfulness is intentional and not necessarily an easy thing to master, there are some techniques that you can use in order to get better at applying it in your life. Some mindfulness practices that can help you stay present include:
- using breathing exercises (for ex: taking deep, slow breaths) when you’re feeling consumed by the past or future
- doing something physical to keep your mind busy (running, walking, swimming, biking, hiking, etc.)
- conversing with a trusted friend about what you’re feeling right now
- going out in nature and taking in everything you see, feel, and hear
- focus on the world around you and what your senses are taking in
These mindfulness practices focus on bringing your mind and body together to take in the present. Doing this, aligning your body and mind, can help you better be mindful of the here and now. And, keep you from focusing on negative thoughts or feelings related to the past and future.
Getting Help With Applying Mindfulness to Your Life
Mindfulness is often a practice that is taught to people in mental health treatment in order to better stimulate healing. For example, Willow Place for Women teaches mindfulness practices to women who are being treated on an outpatient basis for mental health issues including addiction, trauma, and eating disorders. Help is available at our women’s-only facility located in Asheville, North Carolina that includes a holistic approach, including the importance of mindfulness. Find out more about our treatment services and how we can help from our website.