The Power of Acceptance: Embracing Change for a Brighter Future
New Year’s resolutions are typically thought of in terms of self-discipline. We promise ourselves we’ll work out more, be more productive, lose weight or hit our income goals. But the reality is that goals are much easier to accomplish – and more importantly, sustain – when you come at them from a place of self-love. And living sober in recovery with joy is a process that requires an extra gentle attitude toward yourself.
Hereare our ideas for intention-setting for addictionrecovery as we look forward to a joyouslysober year:
Taking a few moments to start your sober morning off on the right foot does wonders for the rest of your day. This organizes your energies and sends a cue to yourself that you intend to go about your day in a mindful, healthy and self-loving way. It can be as simple as selecting a few of the following, and making it a habit to do them every morning:
Notchecking your phone first thing when you wake up: Make it a priority to carry out your morning routine before allyour social media messages and to-dos start competing for your attention. Youcan even set your phone so it’s automatically on ‘do not disturb’ mode untilthe time your morning routine is normally over.
Makingyour bed: Making your bed may seem like asmall task, but it’s a significant expression. As Commander of US SpecialOperations Naval Admiral William McRaven says, “If you make your bed everymorning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give youa small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and anotherand another… (it) will also reinforce the fact that little things in lifematter.” In fact, studies show peoplewho make their beds are happier thanthose who don’t.
Gratitude journaling: A good place to start is an expression of gratitude for your sober life. Journalling is a technique that is especially helpful if you normally wake up with anxiety, as it helps you shift from a mindset of victimhood to one of abundance, which is why gratitude is such a powerful tool for recovery. Gratitude journaling helps us frame our thoughts more positively, and that attitude stays with us, affecting all of our actions throughout the day.
Ifconstantly feeling like you haven’t done enough is a source of anxiety, tryaccomplishment journaling: writing down everything you accomplished the daybefore. You’ll be amazed at how just how much you do that you’re not givingyourself credit for, and get an extra boost of confidence from your trackrecord of success.
By nowwe’re all aware of the many, profound benefits of this millennia-old practice.But many of us are hesitant to start a practice we think will be boring ordifficult – or, we just plain don’t know howto start meditating. Ifyou’re just starting out, try approaching it this way:
Meditate at the same time every day. The ideal time to meditate is in early morning. At this time of day, the prevailing energy is peaceful and your body is not yet awake, giving you a head start on tapping into your inner stillness. But realistically, the best time to meditate is any time you can regularly commit to.
Schedule your sittings.Predetermine the amount of time you want to meditate. It’s a good idea to startwith shorter lengths, like five minutes, and work up to longer sessions as youbecome more proficient.
Prompt yourself. You may want to use the same cues every time to signal to yourbrain that it’s time to meditate. These can include sounds like meditativemusic or mantras, which help our brains attune to a calmer frequency, or thegrounding aromas of incense, sage or essential oils.
Become aware of yourself. Beginby settling down, sensing your inner state and calling your intentions to mind.Let your heart set the tone.
Don’t resist your thoughts. Minds think – a lot. It’s what they do best! If your mind starts racing, don’t beat yourself up for it. Instead, try observing your thoughts as they pass rather than becoming attached to their narrative.
Use your breath as your sober anchor. Every time your mind begins to wander, bring your awareness back to observing your breath, observing its quality as it enters and leaves your body.
Be kind to your sober self. As with any practice, the more times you repeat this, the more sense it will make. Eventually, you’ll find it easier to shift into a calm, aware state. This creates distance between your triggers and your reactions to them – which is why meditation is so effective in recovery.
As your practice progresses, you can be more creative with where and how you set aside small moments of mindfulness. These can be as simple as a sitting meditation on your morning commute, or a walking meditation on your lunch break. The sky’s the limit – every day presents myriad moments to find pause.
Weoften get stuck in future-thinking, believing that something needs to happen beforewe can be happy. Or, we get stuck in the past, believing something should nothave happened to us. But the reality is that thetime to be happy is now – infact, it’s the only time we will ever have access to happiness.
Whileour intensely ambition-oriented society frames happiness as a luxury we seldomhave time for, happiness is in fact a central, vital part of life. And pursuingour happiness leads us to greater ‘productivity’ than ambition ever can,because followingour joy is what leads us to our life’s true path.
Even inchallenging phases of your life, you can find space within your circumstancesto experience joy. Don’t wait for someone to allow you or for some magicalmoment in the future – starttaking responsibility for your happiness now.
At Serenity Vista, we know you deserve to be happy, and we believe you can have exactly the life you want. That’s why we offer all the tools and guidance necessary to support your sobriety in addiction treatment and beyond. Our dynamic, full-life program takes place in our peaceful natural setting in Boquete, Panama, and includes a wide range of holistic therapies to treat all of you.
If you’re ready to embark on the life-changing journey of recovery to a fulfilling and joyous sober life, contact us today to learn how we can help.
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