Mindfulness is a popular word these days. We teach mindfulness and meditation as part of our recovery curriculum here at The Morton Center. The origins of meditation began in the Hindu culture, around 1500 B.C. For thousands of years various religious and secular societies harnessed the potential of the practice to improve resilience, quality of life, lower stress, and even achieve enlightenment. Yoga integrates mindfulness, meditation, and body movement and is a popular venue for improved overall health today. Neuroscientists and researches began studying the effects of mindfulness and meditation in the past 20 years, with positive results. So what is it and why is it so popular now?
Our conscious mind is constantly “thinking,” which is not always beneficial. We ruminate about the past and fret about the future. We’ve all had the experience of driving in our car and reaching our destination with no recollection of the actual experience because we were lost in thought. The benefit of mindfulness is the development of presence. We begin to experience each moment as it comes without getting lost in the past or future. Meditation is a powerful tool for learning mindfulness. Today, a multitude of books, apps, podcasts, youtube videos, etc. are available to teach mindfulness and meditation.
In recovery from a substance use disorder, these tools can provide incredible relief and resilience. Mindfulness practices can reduce cravings, improve mood and anxiety, and stabilize emotional reactivity. Learning how to stay present with mindful attention to feelings and experiences allows our clients to mold their future, one day at a time.
Thanks for reading,
Ashley Peak M.D.
Addiction Psychiatrist/ Medical Director
The Morton Center