New Year’s resolutions often center on tangible goals such as losing weight, increasing savings, or traveling abroad. It’s a running joke that these pursuits don’t last long for most people, but have you ever considered why not? Perhaps the reason is that these objectives are surface level and do not address the area that will increase the chances of success no matter the ambition: emotional well-being. Make this year the year that you increase your emotional vitality and reach your goals by establishing healthy habits.
Emotional well-being is especially important for addiction recovery. Painful emotions can trigger a relapse if you are not equipped to handle them. Learn some ways to strengthen your emotional health this year and increase your chances of lasting recovery.
1. Practice Mindfulness
How can you improve your emotional welfare if you are unaware of your emotions? This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness refers to the act of being present and aware of yourself, others, and your surroundings. It’s the antidote to going through the motions where you may be missing out on the small, but powerful moments of life. Ways you can practice mindfulness include:
- Eating without watching or reading anything
- Giving others your full attention as you interact
- Avoiding distractions while driving
- Sitting with your emotions instead of avoiding or numbing them
You can improve your ability to be present completely at these times by doing meditations that focus on mindfulness.
2. Develop Self-Compassion
Being mindful can be very uncomfortable, especially when dealing with difficult feelings. It requires a lot of self-compassion, which you may have yet to develop. Instead of getting down on yourself during the hard times, give your emotional immune system a boost with some kindness.
You can begin by talking to a trusted friend, family member, or professional. Then follow the person’s example next time you’re being self-critical and talk to yourself in the way someone who cares about you would – or how you would talk to someone you care about. Your self-love and self-esteem will slowly increase, and you’ll be better able to respond healthily to challenges.
3. Learn How to Find Meaning
Much of what happens in life is out of your control, but one thing no one can take away from you is what you glean from your experiences. You can turn any negative event into something meaningful by looking for the value in it. Did you learn something new? Did something positive come from it? By finding meaning, you can become not only resilient in the face of stress and trauma, but also able to transform for the better.
4. Strengthen Connections
Humans need connection with others to thrive. Many substitutes for connection exist in today’s technological world, making it harder to prioritize quality in-person relationships. Technology also makes it easy to hide imperfections and needs. This lifestyle can lead to feelings of isolation, lack of belonging, and fraud.
Take the risk of being vulnerable. Open up to others, be authentic, and attempt to repair broken relationships. Form new friendships with people who will support your sobriety. Even if things don’t turn out the way you hope, you’ll still grow.
Rather than focusing on surface changes this year, start practicing these techniques for greater emotional health. You will not only improve your quality of life but also build a strong foundation for recovery. If you’d like some help getting started or feel you need additional support, Rehab After Work offers individual counseling sessions as well as group therapy. Contact us to get involved. We’re here to support you in recovery!