Have you ever noticed when you’re trying to navigate your way through sobriety, that somehow things become overly complicated? It’s bad enough you’re already overthinking. Every. Little. Thing. We know when that happens, sobriety becomes, well, more complicated.
You also have more important things to focus on, like becoming the person you aspire to be. You don’t have time to worry about whether or not you’re making the right decisions.
What if the answer lies in your habits? With science showing us how these habits can change the way you approach sobriety, you may rethink getting back to the basics. So if you’re looking for simplicity while reducing your stress and anxiety, you’re in the right place.
Because simple is always best, right? With continued practice, these habits will help you to build a deeper connection with yourself, trust your own judgment, and transform you from the inside out.
Before we continue, I’m going to give a quick disclaimer and introduce myself. I am not a medical professional. This is also not medical advice and should not be taken as such.
Hi! I’m Eva, the health coach and reiki master behind Cleen Carma. Through my own struggles with drinking and getting sober without a support system, I’m here to help you rewrite your story one breath at a time. Infusing science with spirituality, sobriety becomes simple yet practical.
That’s the goal of today’s post. So get comfy, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and get ready to pick up a new habit to change the way you approach sobriety.
Imagination IS reality. Our brain can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not. So when we visualize what we want, we’re conditioning our brain to create a network of neurons. The more we do this, the more powerful that network becomes.
There’s more. Our subconscious mind processes about 11 million bits of information per second while our conscious mind only processes between 40 to 50 bits of information per second. (SOURCE) This large gap is because our brain is filtering out what’s unnecessary and only absorbing what we think is important. When we repeatedly visualize, we’re communicating to our brain that our goals are a priority which makes us more focused on reaching them.
Those times you daydream about becoming happier, more confident, and living a leveled up life- it starts in your mind right now. You can make a sober board to help you out with visualization.
Benefits of gratitude:
- Releases serotonin and dopamine
- Strengthens neural pathways
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Releases toxic emotions
- Decreases stress
This deserves its own post (coming soon), but for right now we’ll keep it short and sweet. All the things we don’t want in sobriety- anxiety, depression, stress, toxicity; they can be reduced with gratitude.
Even if you can only find one thing to be grateful for, give it a try. With time, you’ll find more things to be grateful for. Eventually, your brain will be trained to focus on what’s going right instead of what isn’t.
Cleen Carma Tip: When you’re focused on negativity, pause. Notice what comes up. Reframe that thought into a positive one.
e.g.: I’m not worthy of living a good life.
Try: I’m grateful that sobriety is healing me so I can find inner peace.
Deep breathing will be really helpful if you:
- fall back into old patterns (even when you mentally commit to new ones)
- overthink everything
- easily get overwhelmed (especially over little things like not being able to find your phone)
- have debilitating perfectionism
- isolate (especially when you’re going through a rough patch)
This is why:
Because we store trauma in our bodies, the nervous system gets dysregulated. When that happens, we live in the same perpetual cycle, unable to break free from unhealthy patterns. What deep breathing does is stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing us back to the rest and digest state.
I’m not sure about you, but when I think of zen, I think of those moments when you’re deeply connected to yourself. That’s what deep breathing does- it brings you back to yourself by taking attention away from the negative thoughts.
Benefits of deep breathing:
- reduces blood pressure
- helps to release stored trauma
- releases endorphins
- reduces stress and anxiety
- regulates your nervous system
Try this breathing technique:
- Close your eyes.
- Take a long, slow deep breath in through your nose. As you inhale, move your breath into your belly. This allows more oxygen into your body while releasing carbon dioxide. You’ll know if you’re breathing through your stomach when it’s rising on the inhale. Breathe in for a count of five.
- Now exhale for a count of five, feeling your stomach drawing in.
- Repeat this as many times as you need daily.
We’ve all had those days- from the moment we wake up, nothing seems to go right. Somehow, it seems to get progressively worse as the day goes on. You can’t help but feel that the universe is conspiring against you.
Especially if you have experienced trauma in the past. These isolated incidents throughout the day can become really overwhelming for you. According to science, journaling can help you with that. Not just to heal from trauma, but to bring an overall sense of wellbeing.
Studies have shown daily journaling:
- Can reduce depression
- Improves memory
- Increases productivity
- Helps process emotions and traumatic events
- Boosts the immune system
I highly recommend morning pages. It’s from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. First thing every morning, write in your journal. Morning pages have drastically changed the course of my days. Even Elizabeth Gilbert said without morning pages, Eat Pray Love probably wouldn’t have been written.
Cleen Carma tip: When you have a rough day, write it out- every little thing that went wrong. It’s cathartic and you’re conditioning yourself to be seen and heard by you instead of dismissing or repressing your emotions.
Have you ever been so consumed by something bothering you and decided to go for a long walk? If you have, I’m sure you’ve noticed the problems seem to find a solution during those walks. Science is showing us why this happens.
We know walking decreases blood pressure, releases endorphins, and delivers oxygen to the body. But it does more. Studies have shown that walking changes the structure of the brain, enhancing cognitive functioning. That includes memory, learning, problem solving, attention, decision making, reasoning, and thinking.
When you commit to walking every day, your brain will be better equipped to handle the stresses of sobriety. Can’t get outside for a walk everyday? Try it when you’re having one of those moments and see how quickly you’re able to resolve your conflicts.
It’s almost hard to believe how these simple habits can be life changing, right? Even if you only have a few minutes a day to spare, it’s going to change the way you approach sobriety. If you enjoyed this read, please be sure to leave a comment and/or share it.
Leave a comment below of what new habit you’re struggling to pick up along with which new habits have inspired you to become better today than you were yesterday.
I’ll see you soon…in the meantime, love yourself so much that even a Hallmark Christmas movie would be jealous.