Mindfulness is a big deal these days; you’ve probably heard this trending buzzword, but do you know exactly what it means?

Mindfulness as a concept is a little esoteric, but basically it just means being present in the moment—aware of your surroundings, grateful for where you are.

The reason it’s such a big deal is because mindfulness has shown some surprising mental health benefits—increased calm, decreased anxiety, positive effects for those dealing with depression and other mental health disorders. Many have found mindfulness to be a helpful tool in addiction recovery, too.

Maybe you’d like to try mindfulness in your own recovery—but how? Here are a few basic suggestions.

Bringing Mindfulness into Recovery

  • Practice gratitude. When you wake up in the morning, devote just a few minutes to being thankful. Think of five things you’re grateful for. Speak them out loud. Write them in a journal. Meditate on them for just a moment.
  • Learn some breathing exercises. Controlling your breathing can be hugely beneficial—and you can learn how by enrolling in a yoga class or simply by downloading a breathing exercise app.
  • If you’re not sure how, we would once again recommend classes, apps, or even YouTube tutorials. Of course, many books have been written about meditation, as well.
  • People watch. It can be strangely calming to park yourself on a favorite bench or in a nearby coffee shop and just spend a few minutes watching people mill about. Just be there, in the moment, observing your surroundings.
  • Start journaling. We hinted at this already, but keeping a journal can be an invaluable way to focus your mind on where you are right now.

With these tips, you can bring a more mindful approach to your substance abuse recovery—and hopefully see big benefits!