There is a mounting body of evidence that suggests mindfulness can not only help to boost your overall wellbeing, but it can also reduce reactivity to substance cravings. These findings have led to the widespread use of mindfulness in addiction treatment programmes, helping those in recovery better manage their emotions and stay focused on the present moment.

Mindfulness plays an important role in Banbury Lodge’s rehabilitation programme. With the help of our knowledgeable team, you will learn mindfulness skills that you can use both during and after rehab treatment.

Mindfulness therapy - woman relaxing

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a therapeutic practice that involves bringing one’s attention to the present moment. Its core principles focus on acknowledgement and acceptance of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Mindfulness can help you to develop a greater awareness of your inner self, which in turn leads to a better understanding of the underlying causes of your addiction.

Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing stress, anxiety and depression, which are common triggers for substance misuse. It can help you to achieve a sense of calm, peace and tranquillity through various exercises, including bringing your attention to the breath, doing a body scan or practising mindful movement.

Mindfulness applications in addiction therapy

At Banbury Lodge, mindfulness is incorporated into various therapeutic approaches, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and other addiction counselling treatments.

Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness

In CBT, mindfulness can be used to bring awareness to your thoughts and emotions, teaching you to observe them without reacting automatically. This can help you to develop a greater sense of control over your thoughts, giving you the ability to respond to them in more adaptive ways. Mindfulness can also be used as a relaxation technique to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Dialectical behaviour therapy and mindfulness

Mindfulness is a core component of DBT therapy sessions where it is used as a way to reduce your emotional reactivity. Mindfulness is often taught through specific exercises, such as breathing exercises or body scans, which help you to become more aware of the physical sensations in your body and focus your attention on the present moment. This can be particularly helpful for those who experience intense emotional reactivity and struggle with regulating responses to certain events or stimuli. It allows you to take a moment to observe your emotional response in a non-judgemental way and pause before reacting.

Mindful movement

Banbury Lodge recognises the importance of a holistic treatment plan that encompasses both physical and emotional well-being. As part of our programme, you will be encouraged to participate in mindful movement yoga and meditation classes. Mindful yoga aims to create harmony within the mind and body, connecting movement and breath and building strength from within.

You do not have to be flexible to participate in mindful yoga. Each session will be tailored to your individual capabilities, with the goal being to move gently but intentionally with the breath.

The benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness offers multiple benefits, especially for those in addiction treatment and recovery. It can provide you with a moment of serenity, increased happiness and freedom from the addiction pulling you down.

Some of the benefits of mindfulness in addiction treatment include:

    Reduced stress
    Mindfulness has been shown to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. This can be particularly helpful for individuals in addiction treatment, as stress can be a major trigger for relapse.
    Ability to manage cravings
    Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your cravings and the thoughts and emotions that accompany them. By recognising these triggers, you can learn to respond to them in a healthier way.
    Improved emotional regulation
    Addiction often involves using substances or behaviours to cope with difficult emotions. Mindfulness can help you learn to tolerate uncomfortable emotions and respond to them in a more adaptive way.
    Enhanced self-awareness
    Mindfulness can help you to become more aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. This increased self-awareness can help you identify triggers for substance use and develop strategies to manage them.
    Improved overall well-being
    Mindfulness can promote a sense of calm and relaxation, as well as a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life. This can help those in addiction treatment build a foundation for long-term recovery.
    Increased empathy and compassion
    Mindfulness allows you to forgive others, including yourself. With a strong sense of inner peace, you will be able to rebuild relationships and work on loving yourself, despite any imperfections.

Realising that you are not your thoughts is profoundly powerful, and through this practice of mindfulness, you will feel more grounded and the world will seem clearer.

Will mindfulness help me?

The beauty of mindfulness is that its practices can help anyone – you do not have to be spiritual or religious to benefit from it. It is a simple, yet versatile tool that can be used anywhere and at any time, even after you have completed rehab. It is therefore important to keep an open mind and enter into any mindfulness session with a willingness to try.

Mindfulness has helped many in addiction recovery, and it can help you too. If you would like to join our rehab treatment programme and start benefiting from mindfulness, contact our admissions team today.

Frequently asked questions

Is CBT the same as mindfulness?
While CBT and mindfulness both encourage you to become aware of your thoughts and feelings, there are some key differences that you should be aware of. CBT is a type of therapy that seeks to identify problematic thought patterns and replace them with more positive ways of thinking. Mindfulness is the practice of acknowledging and accepting thoughts as they are, essentially watching them come and go while maintaining a state of peace.
Are there any other ways I can practise mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be practised in any activity you do – this could include mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful painting or drawing or any other activity where you can find peace in focusing on the present moment. As an example, with mindful walking you can bring your attention to your feet, focusing on the sensation of the ground beneath you and feeling each point of your foot touch the ground as you walk. If you find it difficult to practise mindfulness while sitting still, it is a good idea to try out some other activities and see what works best for you.
Can mindfulness help with relapse prevention?
Yes, mindfulness can help with relapse prevention by increasing self-awareness, developing coping skills, reducing stress and promoting acceptance of difficult emotions and cravings. Mindfulness practices like meditation and breathing techniques can also improve impulse control and decision-making, which are crucial in maintaining recovery from addiction.
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UK Addiction Treatment Group.

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0203 553 3757