Practicing mindfulness and meditation can be a very positive ways to identify hidden emotions that are harming you and hindering your recovery. Mindfulness focuses on exposing harmful ways of thinking and meditation can help reduce the physical response these harmful emotions cause to our mind and body.
A very important step in overcoming addiction is identifying the emotional root of the behavior. Often negative emotions like anxiety, depression, fear, or pessimism can increase the effects of addiction. Unidentified emotional causes of these negative emotions can lead to behaviors that temporarily cope with negative emotions, but never deal with the cause of them. We often feel that our unhappiness can be cured by success in our personal lives, jobs, or finance, but most often our desires go much deeper.
The “Wanting Mind”
Psychologists have named the state of unhappiness that leads to a strong desire to attain something we have lost or never had to increase our happiness, the “wanting mind.” We often feel that our happiness is just out of reach, and we can fixate on the pursuit of that unknown thing to make us feel fulfilled. This belief, however, hinges on concentrating on a negativity or an imagined void in our lives and leads harmful emotions like sadness, anger, or emptiness.
To read more deeply on the wanting mind, check out Ronald Alexander’s excellent article in Psychology Today here.
When we increase our awareness of what the wanting mind is after, we can more clearly see what we are attached to and let go of it. The practice of mindfulness can be developed, and if you’re aggressive about your recovery, you can make great progress in creating new ways of thinking. Mindfulness can often be difficult because it recalls painful experiences and emotions that are hidden, but being assertive and persistent in your mindfulness practice can help overcome the negative mindset that is sabotaging you.
Mindfulness is a practicable skill can be done with these helpful tips:
- Set aside a specific time to practice
- Observe the present moment as it is
- Let go of your judgments
- Be kind to your wandering mind
Not unlike mindfulness, meditation focuses on the mind-body connection to heal from negative emotions. Meditation is simply defined as an awareness of our present state such as present feelings, thoughts, surroundings, and physical sensations. This must be done all without labeling or judging them as they appear. This practice can help to promote a sense of peace and increased awareness further help the success of practicing mindfulness.
There are many great tips, videos, and resources found on the Mindful website.
Nobody can fully get rid of desire for better things in our lives or things that make us happier. The danger happens when the “wanting mind” is more focused on what we don’t have, or never had, that it hurts positive thought processes. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help identify the negative emotions that hold us back, and with practice and an assertive strategy, new more positive ways of thinking can be achieved.
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