Many of us living with addictions also struggle with anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges. We can tend to default to certain thought patterns that worsen our conditions and perpetuate them. We often aren’t mindful of these thought patterns, and we get can get so lost in them that before we know it, we are bringing ourselves down and thinking in harmful, self-destructive ways. One of these thought patterns is our tendency to dwell on our problems.
With mindfulness, we can begin to pay more attention to the ways in which we think. As part of your morning routine, try jotting down notes about what thoughts first hit you upon waking. Similarly, at the end of the day, you can think back on what thoughts consumed you most throughout the day, which ones were most recurring, which things you found yourself obsessing about. This can become a journaling practice that you can use to explore your thoughts in more depth.
As you practice monitoring your thoughts, you might notice that when you wake up, your first thoughts are of the problems, issues and challenges that have been occupying your mind lately. As you move through your day, how often do you find yourself returning to those same issues? As you’re falling asleep, are you thinking about them some more, trying to work out solutions, reconfiguring your plans, getting increasingly more worried? When we are dwelling on our problems in this way, our energy is one of fear. Our thought patterns are often full of pessimism, doubt, worst case scenarios, hypotheticals and what-ifs. We These add to our feelings of confusion and overwhelm. Not only is ruminating on these thoughts unhelpful but it magnifies the difficult feelings we want to avoid.
How can we stop dwelling on our problems? One solution is to actively and intentionally think thoughts that make us feel reassured and to practice those thoughts whenever anxious thoughts resurface. We can calm our anxiety by saying things like “Everything is going to work out. I will get through this.” We can create affirmations that reflect having manifested the resolutions we want: “I found a solution. I figured it out. Everything worked out for the best.”
Redirecting our thoughts in this way helps us to feel better and allows us to transform our energy so that we are attracting solutions to our problems rather than exacerbating them with our anxiety.
Recovery means learning more about ourselves. We’re here to support you. Call (575) 586-5078.