Mindfulness & Your Mental Health
We have written before about the ways in which mindfulness can support your mental health and recovery from a substance use disorder. On the surface, the practice of mindfulness seems both straightforward and simple. The goal is to be present in the current moment rather than ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. By doing so, we can lower stress, reduce anxiety, and even better manage the cravings that can threaten to upend recovery.
Again, it sounds pretty simple. And in many ways it is. Still, things that sound simple when first explained can be surprisingly complex when it comes time to put them into practice. That can certainly be true of mindfulness practice, because even though you might understand that you are supposed to stay present, it turns out to be challenging to do so.
Those challenges can be frustrating and discouraging. But rather than give up on the benefits of this practice, it might be more helpful to take a little deeper dive into the practice than we can cover here. To that end, we offer a list of several books that might help you make it work for you and your recovery.
List of Books
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh is a recognized authority among those who practice mindfulness. In fact, he taught Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is generally considered the person who brought mindfulness to the Western world after its development over centuries of Eastern thought and practice. In The Miracle of Mindfulness, Nhat Hahn suggests that mindfulness isn’t all about meditation. Instead, he encourages everyone to be mindful as they go about their everyday tasks—bringing their attention fully to whatever they are doing in the moment.
Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Oasis Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School after studying with Nhat Hahn. Given Kabat-Zinn’s status as the popularizer of mindfulness in the West, his many books are popular resources for those eager to learn more about the practice and experience its benefits. This book is for those at the beginning of their mindfulness journey.
The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation by Andy Puddicombe
Originally published as Get Some Headspace, this book is by the founder of Headspace, an app filled with mindfulness exercises—including full courses and individual meditations. Puddicombe’s voice is familiar to anyone who uses the app, and in this book he writes about many of the things he talks about in Headspace sessions. Puddicombe believes 10 minutes of mindfulness practice a day can lead to significant benefits for a person’s mental health, and he’s committed to making this ancient practice accessible and relevant in the modern world.
The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace by Patrizia Collard
Like Puddicombe, Patrizia Collard—an experienced psychotherapist—believes you can incorporate mindfulness into your day-to-day life, even when you don’t think you have much time to devote to the practice. Her book keeps things brief and easy to follow, a combination that can make it easier to start—and stick with—a daily commitment to mindfulness.
The Proactive Twelve Steps for Mindful Recovery by Serge Prengel
This book makes a direct connection between mindfulness and the 12-Step approach pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. Serge Prengel has adapted the original 12 Steps to align them with mindfulness practice. This approach focuses less on a higher power than those familiar with the traditional steps might expect, shifting the focus to personal growth. For a person in recovery who is already participating in a 12-Step program, this book offers a way into mindfulness that draws on the skills, practices, and commitments you are already learning and making.
Be Mindful of Your Need to Get Help for a Substance Use Disorder
Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present moment. And if you are struggling with a substance use disorder, the thing you need to focus on right away is getting the help you need. At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we can help you regain your sobriety via medically supervised detoxification and a robust rehabilitation program designed to provide the skills, resources, and strategies you will need to start on your recovery journey with confidence.
We are ever-mindful that each individual has a unique story—and a need for a unique, personalized approach to treatment. The team at Bel Aire Recovery Center has the expertise and compassion necessary to craft a treatment plan that is right for you.