Addiction is an illness that can affect both the body and the mind.
Generally, we tend to keep mind and body separate, but there’s a growing body of research that point to a strong mind-body connection in all of us. For instance, imagine that you have a lemon in your mouth. Now imagine that you’re biting down on this lemon slightly and the juices are flowing down your tongue.
Is your mouth salivating?
If it is, this is a great example of the mind-body connection. All you did was use your imagination and there you were having a bodily reaction. Because of the ways your mind influences your body and the ways that your body influences your mind, the mind-body connection is worth tapping into especially if you’re in recovery.
Here are ways the mind-body connection can support your overall well being and even strengthen your recovery:
1. Use your mind and body to raise your level of energy
If you’re relatively new to recovery, you may experience low points in your level of energy.
And even if you’ve been in recovery for awhile, you may struggle with mood swings, anxiety, or depression. If this is true for you, use can use upbeat music to get your body moving and raise your level of energy. Certain types of music can have a great effect on energy levels and mood.
Just by listening to certain beats and rhythms, one’s entire outlook can change.
2. Practice meditation
Meditation is a very calming practice that can also produce healing experiences.
By sharpening one’s focus and resting attention on one place (such as the breath), there are a number of benefits the body will experience. For instance, meditation can improve the immune system, reduce blood pressure, reduces the risks of inflammatory disorders and asthma, and helps prevent against arthritis and fibromyalgia.
3. Create a new life by imagining it first
Ask yourself what kind of life you would like to have.
And not just in general terms, but in very specific detail. For instance, you want to live in a two bedroom home that is furnished with modern style of furniture.
You want to be in a relationship with someone your own age and who is employed and loves to take you out to dinner. The point is you want to be specific! Write it all out! For instance, write out your answers to these questions – What is the color of your future home? What does your day to day life look like with your well paying job? Once you have your answers clearly defined, engage your imagination.
See yourself in this new life.
What does it feel like? Who are you in this new life? What types of experiences are you having?
Imagine the circumstances and situations you would have in the new life you want to create for yourself. Just as the imaginary lemon had an effect on your body, so does imagining a new life have an effect on your future.
4. Relax the body to ease the mind
Just as the mind can influence the body, so can the body influence the mind.
When you learn to relax and you do so on a regular basis, you’re more likely to have a more relaxed mind. A discipline that produces ease in the body will have a profound influence on the mind.
You can learn to relax in a variety of ways, including using guided imagery, deep breathing, or yoga. For guided imagery, you might purchase CD’s or a DVD that will guide you to imaginary peaceful states. Doing this on a regular basis can create an ongoing sense of relaxation and peace that will allow you to feel more relaxed throughout your day.
Listening to a guided imagery CD or DVD slowly guides you to imagine a soft, sandy beach or a peaceful waterfall.
A calm voice guides you to have various relaxing experiences, such as walking along the beach as you hear the waves roll in and out. As you continue to use guided imagery, these kind of experiences can create a state of relaxation in the body and mind that feels familiar – more familiar than states of stress and anxiety. A relaxed body/mind is a healthy body/mind.
These are just a few ways that the mind and body can influence one another.
Remember that these activities can build on each other. The more you engage in relaxation, imagination, and meditation, and exercise, the more you will experience its effects.