There’s a strong correlation between addiction and mental illness, but it’s a lot like the case of the chicken and the egg. Being certain about which came first is difficult.
Addiction can lead to mental issues like anxiety and depression; these things are common symptoms of post-acute withdrawal. But on the flip side, mental health issues can also lead to addiction. People who are struggling with their mental health may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
But regardless of which came first, it’s important to take care of your mental health after battling with addiction. Addiction is like a disease that ravages an otherwise healthy body and mind. Taking care of your physical and mental health is part of any successful recovery.
Here are some ideas for living a physically and mentally healthy life while overcoming addiction.
1. Start meditating
Meditation offers a great and natural way to help anyone battle their demons. Through mindful meditation, you learn to focus more in the present moment instead of worrying about the past or obsessing over what may come.
If you’re new to this, start by meditating for 5 minutes every morning and work your way up to 30. It will probably feel weird and foreign at first, but your mind will quickly adjust, and it will get easier. The good news is that meditation’s benefits to your life start almost immediately. It’s not a magic pill, but you should quickly notice yourself focusing better and becoming more content. The benefits only grow as you meditate more consistently.
2. Become addicted to health
Anyone can become an addict. It’s not so much about whether you have an “addictive personality.” But with that said, you’re more likely to fall into patterns of addiction after you’ve already struggled with addiction. Your body gets used to relying out outside sources of pleasure, and your brain starts seeking them. Instead of fighting those urges, try to refocus them into something productive.
Focus all your energy on becoming the healthiest version of yourself you can be. It’ll give you something to do with your time, and you’ll start getting addicted to the healthy glow you adopt.
3. Exercise more often
Even if a health addiction isn’t in your cards right now, try to exercise regularly. When you exercise, your body releases feel-good chemicals (endorphins) that provide a euphoric effect that’s similar to what you’d experience from drugs or alcohol. It may be on a smaller scale, but it’s enough to keep symptoms of depression and anxiety at bay temporarily.
4. Talk to someone
Counseling will probably be a large part of your recovery plan, and that’s good because it’s essential. But after you’ve done all your required meetings, it’s easy to let this fall by the wayside. Don’t.
You will need people to talk to throughout your journey, and counselors are probably your best bet. But if you can’t afford to see a counselor, make sure you have an excellent sober support system.
Find free group counseling meetings and connect with other people in recovery. One of your goals in recovery should be to build a solid support network to help you through the rough times. If one thing is for certain, there will be rough times.
5. Eat a balanced diet
Many people wrongfully discount the role of nutrition in mental health, but it’s just as crucial for your mind as it is for your body. Just like your muscles need protein and nutrients to function properly, the mind needs the right nutrients and antioxidants to perform at its best. When you aren’t eating right, you’ll leave yourself more susceptible to mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
Health and wellness are always important, but they become even more crucial as you battle addiction. Your mind and body must be strong to continue fighting cravings and resisting temptation.