Part of the pain of recovery can happen when the thoughts and feelings that have been tamped down by the addictive substance rear their ugly head and can’t be stopped. If you’re struggling to make some headway in your own recovery and find that these feelings won’t let you go, you’re facing multiple barriers, from physical to mental to emotional. How can positive thinking help you get past your pain?
The idea that positive thinking mean that all is sunshine and roses and that nothing will ever go wrong again is simplistic and may be detrimental to your goals. To break away from the all-sunshine, no-shadows mindset that’s easy to promote and impossible to live, consider changing your mindset to seeking out hopeful thinking.
Benefits of Meditation
There are many ways that meditation can help, no matter what demons you’re fighting. However, it’s a little simplistic to say that meditation is a form of positive thinking. Instead, think of meditation as a haven or place of safety. No matter how much you struggle with meditation, set a rule that you must always be gentle with yourself.
Successful meditating can be done anywhere. You don’t need a yoga mat or even a seat on the floor. To meditate, find a restful position that causes you no discomfort. Set a timer for no more than ten minutes at the start. Choose an object that you find beautiful and focus on it. Simply inhale and exhale deeply, keeping your mind clear while you direct your eyes and focus on the object or image. When your mind wanders, treat it like a beloved two year old that you’re trying to walk beside and guide it gently back to the image. Be nice to your brain as you meditate. When your ten minutes are up, stretch, drink a little water, and get on with your day.
What About Physical Pain?
Physical pain is often a precursor to addiction, especially if opioids are used or prescribed and become a crutch. Managing your physical pain is critical to moving on with your life, no matter where you are in the detox process. Managing your physical pain may take more medical treatment, a new form of pain blocker, surgery, or physical therapy. Do what it takes to get your physical pain to a manageable point, and make sure you focus on reducing the toxin load in your tissues, as that can impact your inflammation. This includes checking out your diet for processed foods, and foods high in salt and sugar.
As you work through the detox process, you may find it helpful to keep a food journal. List areas of your body that are prone to discomfort and monitor them as you remove processed foods, items made with white flour, and other forms of junk food. Bumping up the your antioxidant intake can do a lot to reduce your physical inflammation, and a food journal can help you track daily changes over time.
Physical pain can keep you from doing the things you need and want to do, but emotional pain makes everything you accomplish something useless and unworthy of celebration. To fight emotional pain, you will likely need professional help to monitor
- how you talk to yourself
- how you hear what others are saying to you, and
- how you process the feedback you get.
If you don’t think you’re worthy of a positive comment, anyone who has anything kind to say is an idiot. People who think they’re unlovable tend to be terrible partners and spouses; the people who care about them are obviously wrong. Part of the allure of addiction is that the voice that claims you are not worthy can be forced to hush up, at least for a time. With therapy, you can go back to the origins of those unkind thoughts, take down the structure that holds them in place, and build a better mindset.
Positive thinking all the time becomes our standard or “ordinary” thinking, so to stay positive we need to break the bounds of reality. If positive thinking is too much a stretch for you as you work through rehab, focus instead on safe thinking. Create a space in your head and heart where you can simply be: No stories, recriminations, or abuse. You deserve safety, respect, and a life free of emotional pain. Are you ready to get started? Call us today at 772-934-6580.