Sobriety itself can help you with your mental well-being. It is an opportunity for your body to begin healing and regaining its natural processes – without the use of drugs or alcohol. In turn, it balances out the chemicals in your brain – making your mental function less foggy. Unfortunately, handling the mental aspect of sobriety can be exhausting and challenging. This is important to address because – let’s face it – if you aren’t well mentally, you may find that your sobriety is at risk.
Sobriety is a new way of life and it requires an immense amount of focus and determination to stay on the sober track. Thankfully, there are tools that can be put in place to ease the struggle and help you maintain your mental well-being.
Focusing on the Now
When you arrive at your sober destination, it is important that you focus on the present time, rather than on the future or the past. Do not worry about things that are yet to come or the things that you did in the past. There will be a time and a place for expending energy on those things.
When you enter sobriety, you just need to keep your mind in the present – getting through a minute at a time or day at a time. If you fail to do so, you will find that your mind becomes too full, your stress levels increase, your emotions will run on high, and, before you know it, you are all out of focus and in a spiral. Sobriety can be a slippery slope. Focus on one step at a time and you will get far.
You should most definitely get yourself in the habit of meditating. It is a learned technique that can slow your thought processes, increase your mental focus, and lead to a much better overall well-being. Anyone can meditate. Its simple and effective – and will get easier with time.
Here are some easy tips to get started:
- Find yourself a comfortable position, whether sitting or lying down.
- Close your eyes.
- Keep your attention on your breathing – slow and steady.
- Clear your mind of everything except your breathing. If you find something else start to creep in, send it on its way and go back to your breathing.
- Focus on how your body reacts with each breath.
Do this for 10 minutes each day (or whenever you feel you need it), gradually increasing your time. If you have a tough time focusing on your breathing, you can choose to imagine yourself at your favorite destination – and let your mind take flight.
Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
An attitude of gratitude means that your focus is positive and thankful. And, having this outlook on life can make your mental wellness grow significantly. Life is going to have its ups and downs. And, sobriety is going to, also. You will have good days and you will have bad days. You may be proud of yourself one day and ashamed the next. It happens.
Using gratitude as a tool, however, can change your perspective easier than you may think. For instance, in a day that seems to have more struggles than usual, an attitude of gratitude would allow you to be thankful for many things you may have otherwise failed to notice – such as being thankful you woke up to a new day. Finding the good helps improve your overall health.
Here is how to begin developing an attitude of gratitude:
- Begin keeping a gratitude journal. Write down at least one thing each day that you are thankful for.
- When you find yourself in a stressful moment, stop and remind yourself of at least one positive event from the day.
- Focus on the little things. Sure, you may want to accomplish everything right now. But, by focusing on the small steps you can be thankful the whole way – step by step.
Practice gratitude enough and it will eventually become a habit!
Mindfully Managing Stress
Allowing yourself to get overwhelmed with stress is a sure-fire way to get your mental well-being all out of whack. Take the time to equip yourself with tools that can keep your stress at bay and even prevent it before it happens.
- Practice meditation as discussed above
- Learn time management techniques to better handle your obligations.
- Focus on yourself rather than on everyone else. You are the only one you can control.
- Remove yourself from stressful situations.
Taking Good Care of Your Body
Your body is a machine that functions how it should – when you take care of it. It is important to get yourself into a healthy fitness routine. Whether it is working out at the gym, running, group classes, or walking – do it. Physical fitness gets your heart working, your blood pumping, your endorphins released, etc. It’s like putting your body into motion and waking it up. Its good for you, both physically and mentally.
In addition to fitness, eating well plays a vital role in how you feel mentally. If you are wanting to maintain your focus and your overall mental well-being, then you will want to avoid processed foods and those with a lot of preservatives. Instead, opt for fresh foods and whole grains. Make fruits, veggies, and whole grains a part of your daily diet.
Seeking Professional Help
Reaching sobriety doesn’t mean you are magically healed from your addiction. Sobriety, remember, is a lifelong process. Therefore, it is incredibly beneficial to you to seek the help of a therapist. You will not have to feel like you are failing or that you need a crutch. Seeking a therapist is a positive step to ensure your success.
A therapist will teach you coping skills you may not have already acquired and will be there to work with you through any struggles you may face. It is healthy communication that can only be beneficial to your recovery.
Your mental well-being is very important for a successful recovery. Don’t take it for granted.