You’re reading Self-Assessing Your Degree of Mindfulness, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Mindfulness is a wonderful practice for everyone to participate in. Anyone can practice mindfulness during waking hours, regardless of surroundings. Sitting in silence for five minutes on a daily basis has been shown to have significant effects on lowering the stress hormone cortisol. The process can relieve stress, relax the body, and eliminate anxiety. Although extremely useful in treating addiction, the everyday practice of mindfulness can be beneficial to anyone and everyone.

Examples of Mindfulness in Your Daily Life

Mindfulness practice is the art of being present in your thoughts and working to control them. The intent is to become fully present in your life, regardless of your surroundings or activities. This can be accomplished by becoming fully aware of thought processes and suspension of judgment.

One example of mindfulness is meditation. While the thought of meditation may be horrifying to some, it’s just the process of being alone and aware of your thoughts. It doesn’t require a teacher or an obscure yoga pose. Simply sitting alone and relaxing, you can slowly become aware of your thoughts. If your mind wanders, you can bring it back to another appropriate thought.

Another example of mindfulness in everyday life is simply being present. As you’re washing dishes, don’t think about tomorrow’s to-do list. Instead, focus on what you’re doing and the sensations involved. Think about how the warm water feels on your hands, how the dish soap smells, or how intricate the china patterns are. There are many ways to add mindfulness, and in recovery all of these ways will contribute to lessened cravings and negative thought patterns.

How Mindful Are You?

Take Our Short Quiz To See Just How Mindful You Already Are!

Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions, keeping a tally as you progress.

  1. I often take my time walking places to experience my surroundings.
  2. I can easily stay focused on the task at hand.
  3. I recognize my mood swings as they occur.
  4. I remember people’s names after meeting them the first time.
  5. Sometimes I arrive home without remembering details of the drive.
  6. If my mind wanders to unpleasant thoughts, I can redirect it back to something more positive.
  7. I eat slowly and enjoy my food.
  8. I enjoy playing with children or pets.
  9. I can tell I’m getting sick before symptoms are physically noticeable.
  10. I am level-headed and can typically control my emotions.
  11. When I walk outside, I notice birds chirping or the smell of flowers.
  12. When someone asks how I’m doing, I can answer quickly and honestly.
  13. I can tell immediately if someone doesn’t like me by their body language.
  14. I rarely break things by accident or trip over objects in my path.
  15. I notice the effects certain food or drinks have on my body.

Analyze Your Quiz Results

0-5 Questions Answered “Yes”

  • Oh dear. You may be sailing through life without paying attention. Consider implementing more mindfulness techniques or finding a meditation program to help develop your skills. Pay attention to your surroundings a little better, it’s dangerous out there!

6-10 Questions Answered “Yes”

  • You are well on your way to becoming a mindful person. Maybe this is something you’ve been working toward, or maybe it’s an innate characteristic. Keep up the good work and try to implement at least one new mindfulness technique a week.

11-15 Questions Answered “Yes”

  • You must be a master yogi, because you have this whole thing down. Share your techniques with friends and family, so they can benefit from your knowledge.

Defining “Holistic” Therapy & How It Relates to Mindfulness

Holistic therapy is a whole-body method of treatment used for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Many mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or even addiction may benefit by supplementing their treatment process with a holistic therapy. The process analyzes and eventually changes a person’s thoughts and behaviors without the use of pharmaceuticals. The idea behind the practice is to change lifestyles, not simply treat symptoms.

Holistic therapy has many different approaches, some of which include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Art therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Meditation
  • Family therapy
  • Journaling
  • Guided imagery

Mindfulness and holistic approaches are often viewed as too new-age or hippie for many people to consider seriously, but science is backing the techniques. There are many similarities between mindfulness techniques and more well-established Western therapy practices such as cognitive-behavioral therapies. Both treatment techniques include the conscious review of thoughts related to triggers and cravings.

For example, in cases of addiction, when used appropriately these techniques have shown to reduce relapse rates. Studies have demonstrated that patients who receive mindfulness therapy experienced greater decreases in cravings and greater increases in acceptance of their addiction. When treating heroin addiction, mindfulness practices can be successful while in rehabilitation as well as after the patient has left the facility to improve their lifestyle.

Determining if Holistic Therapies Can Help Your Addiction

When a person first seeks treatment, they will be evaluated by a clinician who will determine treatment options. Typically, a combination of methods is used throughout treatment to reach a favorable outcome. The process of therapies will begin once the heroin detox and withdrawal symptoms have subsided. The use of holistic therapies works well for many of those with addiction issues, partially because it is a drug-free approach that produces no risk of further addictions.

For example, heroin addiction forms when an individual begins to take the drug and pleasurable feelings are produced. The person will continue taking the drug, even as their life begins to fall apart. When a holistic approach is used for treatment, the program will work to replace the heroin and reduce the cravings by changing the patient’s entire approach to life. Their concentration will be on reducing cravings and finding new outlets for pleasurable experiences.

In order to be successful, the patient must have an innate desire to become mindful and change their thought patterns. It is especially effective for those individuals who view themselves as the more spiritual type.

Science-Backed Benefits of Mindfulness Practice

You may be doubtful of how effective holistic methods like mindfulness meditation may be for treating complex issues such as addiction recovery, but many world-renowned addiction treatment centers are embracing the practice. Heroin and opioid use have reached epidemic proportions, and as studies on treatment efficacy are being produced, the holistic practices are now embraced by the mainstream. The practice of mindful meditation as a supplement to a drug detoxification program has been shown to be powerful in preventing relapse.

Many Americans practice mindfulness daily but have not considered it to be mindfulness. Have you ever been told to take five deep breaths to calm yourself? Mindfulness at work. Have you ever stopped to smell the flowers? Yep, that’s mindfulness. It’s not as obscure or exotic as some people believe.

About the Author

Nicole Clarke lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and two parakeets. She works as a media coordinator and is an avid proponent of holistic health treatment and spreading mental health awareness. When she’s not teaching her Kundalini yoga workshop or writing about the latest healthcare news, she’s probably on Twitter looking at pictures of cute animals. Come say hi to her @NicoleHClarke!

You’ve read Self-Assessing Your Degree of Mindfulness, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.