It is an honor to witness the miraculous healing that takes place for many here at Mountainside. Treatment for substance abuse has come a long way since I entered my first institution at age 14 in 1978. We now know the value of incorporating Mind Body Spirit practices into treatment. In order to achieve health, balance and a fulfilling life, it’s necessary to not only address the chemical dependency of addiction, but to incorporate effective methods of self-care. The ongoing journey of recovery is a process of coming to our senses with practices that expand our awareness and develop sensitivity and resilience. Utilizing ancient wisdom such as breathing practices, acupuncture, yoga, qigong, music, sound healing, chanting, and spending time in nature is a great way to achieve balance.
These methods help us build new patterns in the brain and gain a deeper awareness of our bodies and environments. By practicing yoga, we can build inner and outer strength and awareness. Through movement, breath, and sound we increase our sense of vitality. Acupuncture can treat many physical ailments, as well as help with emotional blocks that contribute to anxiety or depression. Spending time outside with nature helps us learn to respond creatively. The awe and wonder of nature has much to teach. These practices are more important than ever in a modern, fast-paced world that has most of us less active and more isolated from nature than any other time in history. Building a fulfilling life is each person’s birthright, and taking time for self-care is an essential component.
Here are some tips for Mind Body Spirit nourishment:
Reclaim the Nature Within You:
We are physiologically, psychologically, and energetically attuned to move through the realm of nature. The forest, the ocean, the grasslands, and the desert are arenas to assist us in finding balance in our lives and help us to make sense of the world.
Find a quiet spot – outdoors is ideal – and take an inventory of all your senses, individually at first, then join them into one collective sense. This is challenging at first but eases with practice. Next, take a slow walk, about the pace of a relaxed heartbeat, eyes soft-focused and forward, taking an inventory of the ground beneath your feet. Combine these two practices daily, even if it’s only for five minutes.
Let Go of Stress:
Find a teacher you like to take classes with. You can also develop a home practice that includes a focus on breathing practices that strengthen the nervous system and purify the blood stream. Different patterns of breathing will offer different results: take long deep breaths for calming and focus, and take short breaths from the diaphragm without pausing to clear and energize. Yoga postures and qigong help us to cultivate energy and release stress held in the body’s tissues and to ease aches and pains. Chanting opens vibratory frequencies that correspond to every sound in the universe, helping to balance the energy centers known as chakras. Meditation helps quiet the mind’s endless chatter.
Adopt a yoga mindset by:
- Having an overall positive attitude
- Having compassion toward self and all
- Speaking with awareness – being true, honest and sincere
- Listening to self and others
Manage Physical Pain:
Get acupuncture regularly to help ease stress and pain. Acupuncture is both a preventative and curative treatment. It works by bringing the entire system into balance. Since many health problems do not arise overnight, it follows that true healing is a gradual undoing of old patterns. Within our body, we have a pharmacy: there are approximately 365 acupuncture points, and each has a specific function. The poetry of each acupuncture point is that it not only works on the physical, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels as well. You don’t have to deal with these levels separately because the body intrinsically understands and knows and heals on each level.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share these treasured ancient methods, as they have been life-saving for me and continue to help me grow and transform. These practices are now more readily accessible to most of us. We’ve been given all these tools to help us heal and to finally live up to our true potential. Spread the word to your friends and family: recovery is possible, be the solution, and know that we are worthy. It is important that we continue to take care of ourselves on every level by making these practices part of our everyday lives, helping us find joy, vision, purpose, awareness, and a nurturing supportive community.