Here are six daily practices for addiction relapse prevention to help you navigate early recovery.
Recovery is a process of change, and during the early stages of addiction recovery, you’re putting new skills to work in your life and making essential lifestyle changes that support ongoing recovery. After treatment, a drug addiction relapse prevention plan is put into place to help you navigate the early weeks and months of solo recovery. Here are six daily practices for addiction relapse prevention are great additions to this plan. They will go a long way toward helping you maintain good mental health, sustain the motivation you need to continue with recovery, and reduce stress to help keep cravings and negative emotions at bay.
Meditation has been shown through a large body of research to change the physical structures of the brain for better mental health. A study by Yale University found that meditation decreases activity in the brain region responsible for mind wandering and our preoccupation with ourselves. A Harvard University study found that just eight weeks of daily meditation increases the volume of the brain regions that govern learning, memory, and emotion regulation while at the same time reducing the volume of the amygdala, which is the center of fear, anxiety, stress, and the fight or flight response. Daily meditation helps to improve mindfulness, reduce stress, and stabilize your mood–all of which are very helpful in the early stages of addiction recovery.
One of the most important daily practices for relapse prevention is exercise. Physical activity improves mood and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. According to Harvard Medical School, exercise rivals antidepressants as an effective treatment for depression. It also improves your memory and learning abilities, increases focus and concentration, and improves sleep. Strive for a half hour of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
3. Eat healthy food.
A healthy diet is an essential part of any drug addiction relapse prevention plan. Nutritious food helps to keep your mood stable, and it improves your overall physical and mental health. It promotes high energy levels, leaves you feeling strong and healthy, and helps reduce cravings. Unhealthy foods that are highly processed and full of added sugar make you feel lethargic, and they lead to blood sugar spikes that can trigger drug or alcohol cravings. Eat a mostly plant-based diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Drink plenty of water to stay adequately hydrated.
4. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of existing in the present moment, where you’re not fretting over the past or worrying about the future. In the present moment, you can listen to what your body is telling you about how you feel, including your mood, emotions, and physical sensations like hunger or fatigue. Staying in regular contact with the present moment helps you fend off triggers, negative emotions, stress, and physical feelings that can lead to relapse. To help you get into the habit of practicing mindfulness, set an alarm to go off every hour. Then, sit quietly for a few moments, and take stock of how you’re feeling. That way, you can take steps to make adjustments to help ward off relapse triggers.
5. Express gratitude.
One of the best ways to overcome negative emotions is to focus on the positive. Each day, make a physical or mental list of the things you’re grateful for. These are the things that are going right in your life. Focusing on these positive aspects of your life helps you ward off stress, bad moods, self-pity, and other recovery-busting states of mind. Look around, and list all of the things you’re thankful for at the moment: Your family, a cozy home, a reliable vehicle, good hair, supportive friends, your pet, a beautiful, sunny day. You’ll feel better almost immediately.
6. Relax and have fun.
Relaxing and having fun is one of the daily practices for addiction relapse prevention that has a major impact on your recovery. It’s essential to learn how to have a good time and relax without drugs or alcohol. That’s because when you’re relaxed and having fun, you’re less likely to want to use, and your stress levels are low. Strive to do something every day that you enjoy and that leaves you feeling relaxed and renewed. If you can’t think of anything, start looking for hobbies you can engage in to help reduce stress and improve your quality of life.
Strive to engage in these daily practices for addiction relapse, and you’ll find that day by day, week by week, you become more in tune with yourself and comfortable in your recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.