As we go through our lives, there are always going to be crises, whether on a personal level or even on a global level. Our minds and bodies naturally respond to crises in different ways.
The stressors that are created in crisis, as well as our emotional responses, can vary from person to person. Those of us who have used substances to cope with stressors have not learned how to manage our emotions so that we can stay strong in times of crisis.
Mindfulness in the Face of Crisis
One of the most important things to remember when a crisis hits is to practice mindfulness. For example, if we begin to feel the physical and emotional responses in our bodies that feel like anxiety or stress, then we can stop.
We can relax, and practice some mindful meditation. Mindfulness focuses on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.
Guided meditations are available through mindfulness meditation apps and YouTube videos as short as two minutes that we can do almost anywhere, no matter what is going on.
As we relax and focus on our breathing, we can feel the emotional responses receding in our bodies as we focus on becoming present and noticing what is going on around us. Mindfulness breaks down big, giant, emotional problems by pinpointing just exactly where we are and what is happening in the moment.
Regulating Emotional Response
When we stay present in the moment we are more prepared to deal with crises. We are more likely to function effectively and make better decisions if we remove all of the emotional responses our minds and bodies have added to the situation.
That gives us peace, clarity, and perspective when dealing with a crisis.
For example, if there is a big economic downturn, our minds and bodies might respond with elevated blood pressure, panic and fear. We may become angry or depressed.
Whatever emotions come up, they are going to influence the things we do in response to the news about the financial crisis.
When we can take some time and mindfully meditate, we can direct our attention away from all of those emotions and physical responses. We can clear our minds to see what is here, right now, and bring our minds back to the optimum level of function at a time when we need clarity and inspiration the most.
When we come back to the financial crisis with this level of acceptance and awareness, we may see solutions to the problem that we would not have otherwise seen. At the very least, we are better prepared to deal with the consequences of a crisis when we are calm and focused and in acceptance.
Managing Your Stressors
We are going to be more prepared to deal with a critical situation when we do things consistently to help manage the stress in our lives. We can do things daily, like exercise, eat nutritiously, and get a full night of sleep.
Sleep can be difficult in times of stress, but if we are strict with our routines, that will give our bodies the best opportunity for a good night’s sleep. We can also seek help in therapy to be able to talk about the stressors we have and seek ways to relieve them in healthy ways.
Yoga is another great stress-relieving activity that helps us to focus on our breathing, grounding, and balance which can be a useful tool in times of stress.
Accepting Cravings without Acting on Them
If we are already in recovery, we know that times of crisis can trigger cravings to use substances again. Stress can bring out the worst in addictive patterns and behavior.
However, we do not need to give in. In recovery, we learn how to face these times with peace and clarity by staying present and accepting the cravings for what they are without reacting or giving into them.
This is the power of treatment and the skills we gain there. We can learn to acknowledge such powerful thoughts and physical responses and maintain the power and control of our bodies to be able to make our own, healthy choices, rather than give our control back to substances amidst emotional and physical reactions.
Another skill that helps us in the face of crisis is to exercise compassion and tolerance. Looking outside of our bodies to see what we can do to help and understand others is a skill that helps the community at large. Inevitably it helps us as well. We can take our focus off of our own emotions and responses by helping other people and being of service.
Initially, recovery is meant to be about finding healing for ourselves. However, the tools we are given and the skills that we learn in recovery also help us throughout our lives, including in times of crisis.
As we practice the skills we learned, we are more prepared to help ourselves and to help others during crises. We can maintain our sobriety and continue to heal in our recovery.
Succeeding in a time of crisis makes it that much more obvious just how far we have come. Start your journey today and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
When times get tough, you can be tougher. Find out how at AToN Center. Call (888) 535-1516 Learn how to stay strong in times of crisis without turning to substances.