3 Mindfulness Exercises for Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a disease that affects the body, mind and spirit.  Anyone who has ever tried to stop drinking or abstain from using drugs cold turkey knows all too well the physical pain and discomfort that addiction causes. Any recovering addict can also tell you that the effects of substance abuse on a person’s mental and spiritual wellbeing are just as profound, if not more so, than the physical damage.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

The fact that addiction is an illness of the mind and spirit means that mindfulness exercises can be a powerful tool on the road to lifelong recovery. These exercises can be helpful for anyone, but in recovery it’s especially important to have these kinds of tools ready for moments of stress that inevitably arise in life.  Stress and anxiety can be significant triggers for relapse so its critical that those in recovery have stress management skills to turn to rather than returning to substance use.

The Five Senses Exercise

The five senses exercise is a well known tool for stress management and it can be very helpful for those in addiction recovery.  In a moment of stress or anxiety, its easy to remember 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

5- See:  As the five senses exercise begins, you are asked to name five things you can see, including items that would typically escape your attention. This activity could be a shadow, a crack on the wall, or specific colors around you that you’ve never really noticed before.

4- Feel:  The next part of the exercise asks you to notice four things you can feel, something like the texture of the clothes you are wearing, the feeling of a breeze on your skin, or the soft rug under your feet.

3- Hear:  In the next part of the exercise, you will focus on three things you can hear, like the TV in the next room, the sound of a dog barking nearby, or your children’s laughter in the front yard.

2- Smell: As the exercise continues, you will focus on two things you can smell, like the food cooking on the stove or the scent wafting in from your garden.

1- Taste:  Finally, you will focus on one thing you can taste, like your morning coffee cup or the doughnut that went with it.

This exercise can be a powerful tool to calm your mind in moments of stress and anxiety.  Focusing on your senses helps you to feel more grounded in your body.   It brings your awareness fully into the present moment instead of focusing on things that are out of your control.

The Three-Step Mindfulness Exercise

Mindfulness exercises do not have to be long and complicated; this one only takes three simple steps.

Step 1: The first step begins when you stop and assume a comfortable posture. No need to twist yourself into a yoga pretzel; just relax and get into the exercise spirit.

Step 2: Step two of the three-step exercise starts when you focus your full attention on one thing you do every day: breathing. Concentrate on your breathing can center you and take you out of yourself at the same time, aiding your addiction recovery and helping you build calm and resilience.

Step 3: The final step of the three-step mindfulness exercise asks you to open your eyes slowly. Once your eyes are fully open, you simply get up, walk away, and carry the mindfulness exercise you have just completed with you throughout the day.

The Three Minute Breathing Space

This simple mindfulness exercise only takes three minutes. Just find a comfortable place to sit and relax, a spot where you will not be disturbed and get startled.

Minute 1: The first minute is spent in reflection, as you ask yourself how you are doing. How are you feeling? What are you thinking about? What do you hope to achieve through this mindfulness exercise?

Minute 2: As minute two arrives, you will focus on breathing and taking note of every inhalation and exhalation. Breathe slowly and steadily, feeling every breath as it enters and exits your body.

Minute 3: The final minute of the three-minute breathing space begins when you expand your attention outward. While still focusing on each breath and breathing, you expand your focus to the rest of your body, from head to toe, and finally to the world around you. When you emerge from this exercise, you should feel entirely relaxed and ready to take the next step on your journey from addiction to a lifetime of recovery.

Mindfulness can be a great tool for those in recovery.   Practices like the ones above can help you stay focused and on track even when the road to addiction recovery becomes difficult. Contact WhiteSands Treatment to learn more about therapies we offer to help people overcome addiction and thrive in their long term recovery.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.