What is Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention?
One interesting approach to using mindfulness and recovery skills is a program called mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP), which was developed by Dr. Alan Marlatt.
This aftercare model is based on the integration of mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with added tools that address the common issues in early recovery, substance craving, and negative emotional states.
MBRP helps the individual overcome cravings and emotionally upsetting situations with a concept called “urge surfing.” Using this tool, the individual who experiences cravings or situations that might threaten sobriety they envision it as a temporary event that will dissipate, like riding a wave.
A study published in JAMA concluded that individuals who practiced MBPR versus treatment as usual, or typical aftercare strategies, showed significantly lower rates of substance use and heavy drinking after twelve months. This further confirms the connection between mindfulness and recovery success.
Other Holistic Practices that Aid Recovery
Stress reduction is an important focus for individuals in recovery. In early recovery, it is common to experience high levels of anxiety while facing stress and uncertainty while restoring stability. Practicing mindfulness and other relaxation techniques become essential coping tools to access when anxiety ramps up.
In addition to mindfulness, some examples of other holistic practices include:
- Yoga. Yoga is an ancient Buddhist practice that involves slow, deliberate poses and movements while also integrating breath work and positive messaging.
- Deep breathing. Deep breathing exercises can swiftly reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate. This easy practice can be done anywhere at any time.
- Meditation. Meditation involves using words and guided imagery to induce positive feelings and relaxation.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture uses small needles in strategic meridians on the body to open energy pathways.
- Therapeutic massage. Massage helps reduce stress and enhance relaxation by manipulating muscle tissue, which releases toxins from the body.
- Aromatherapy. Using essential oils, such as rose oil, lavender oil, and bergamot, will promote relaxation. Oils that relieve depression include ylang-ylang and Roman chamomile.
- Equine therapy. Working with a horse by grooming, exercising, and feeding them can be psychologically therapeutic.
- Art therapy. Art-based therapy provides an experiential activity that can help express deep emotions while also promoting relaxation and building self-esteem.
- Gardening therapy. Tending to a garden can improve mood, reduce stress, and build self-esteem.
Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle
Mindfulness is a great coping skill in recovery, but add these five activities to the daily routine for added recovery benefits:
1. Get off the couch.
Getting regular exercise is an essential lifestyle change in achieving optimum wellness in recovery. Physical activity is a mood booster and also helps to reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning.