Mindfulness and Codependency Recovery
The recovery journey from codependency or any addiction certainly is a winding road for most people. I know for myself there have been some highs and some lows, but in and through it all I have learned so much about myself and recovery.
I have learned a lot about what not to do.
And, more and more I find myself becoming mindful of certain things like triggers, negative thought patterns, and things that make me experience bouts of peace and joy.
I attribute a main reason for the brunt of my emotional recovery to the practice of mindfulness and meditation over the past five years, as being mindful has helped me to gain some control over my cray-cray thought life. Plus, it’s bringing my awareness to peak level, so that I find myself enjoying the present moments more often, instead of getting stuck in the past or worrying about my future.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply being “mindful” of each moment as it occurs. It is being in a state of observance and awareness of your present thoughts and bodily functions. Mindfulness comes from Zen Buddhist meditation techniques and has become more popular in recent years due to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is a researcher on a mission to help people understand how it can benefit the mind, body, and spirit. In fact, his research has indicated that practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress, depression, pain, and even help in addiction recovery.
When is the last time you took a few minutes and just sat in silence completely aware of your present moment and offering gratitude for it? I know for me, to silence my thoughts for a few minutes is not always an easy task. I seem to have hundreds of thoughts flooding my mind on a continual basis – and chances are, so do you.
This is why I find mindfulness and meditation (read more about meditation here) so helpful. They cause me to be still, relax, and let the majority of things go, so I can just feel happy and content in those moments. No rushing. No worrying. No wondering what the future will be like.
Simply enjoying my present moments, the ability to breathe and be alive, and feel gratitude.
How to be mindful
Practicing mindfulness is quite easy, yet many find it challenging to actually STOP what they’re doing or thinking to actually DO it.
You want to take in the present moment. Stop everything and take three deep, relaxing breaths and relax every part of your body. Do your best to only focus on your inhaling and exhaling. Feel your breath as it enters and exits your lungs. As you do this, focus on your present moment sitting there. As you turn your attention to your breathing, your other thoughts ought to stop flooding your mind. As you focus on the present moment, much of your thought life changes. You won’t be thinking about your past or the guy who cut you off this morning. You will be focusing on your breathing, how relaxed you feel, how peaceful you feel, and how grateful you are for this moment right now. If random thoughts come into your awareness, simply acknowledge them and let them go.
Random thoughts will come. But listen, a thought is just a thought. You can become an observer of those thoughts. Say “hello” and then let them float away and come back to the breath.
Mindfulness and codependency recovery
You might wonder how the practice of mindfulness can help you with codependency recovery. As someone recovering from codependency characteristics, you most likely struggle with lower vibration or negative thoughts or emotions that may lead you to want to feel insecure, anxious, and so on. You might be stressed out and worried about numerous. You might also have some destructive patterns or reactions that keep you from growing in your recovery.
Mindfulness helps you to be able to become more apt to pause before reacting, as you observe your choices in the present moments. It will also decrease the amount of stress you carry. As you become more in tune with yourself through mindfulness, you will be able to become more aware of triggers as well. Instead of reacting to a trigger, you will be able to pause and take a different, more beneficial route.
When overcoming codependency through recovery, it is important to confront and process the negative emotions that may have caused you to pick up codependent characteristics in the first place. I know for myself, once I dealt with a lot of past emotional wounds stemming from faulty programming I picked up in childhood, I grew so much more.
By adding mindfulness to my daily life, I am less apt to allow negative emotions to pop up and trigger me. I have gained some control over my thoughts and emotions. Whereas they used to control me, now I control them – well, most of the time. There are days when this does not go as planned, and that’s alright!
You can incorporate mindfulness into your codependency recovery as well. It simply begins with a willingness to walk more aware of your present moment. Here, now. When you can begin to experience more of the here, now, you’ll experience less stress due to worrisome or hurtful past or present thoughts. You see the mind/body connection?
As you participate in mindfulness more often, you should experience less stress and more clarity for your life. You will feel more in control of your thoughts and emotions, and happier and more content. This will certainly help you in your codependency recovery journey, as it has for me.