Amber Valletta, ex-addict and supermodel, speaks out about the things she has found that she needs to do, to thrive in recovery.
A key thing for Amber's ability to manage her emotions without drugs is mindfulness - her daily meditation practice. You can watch the video with Amber here.
This week I want to talk about the next step in recovery - and basically one of the most important steps for anyone dealing with wanting to change a behavior: building a daily meditation practice.
The ability to sit through uncomfortable emotions without distracting yourself is the single factor which will decide if we are successful in changing longterm.
If we only distract ourselves and try to willpower us way out of our bad habits, we will eventually go back. Because willpower can only last so long, before we exhaust it.
You want to create a life that is supported by your choices rather than one where every movement is a struggle against your bad behaviors.
Working in rehabs and eating disorders clinics, I believe this is the most crucial element on whether treatment is successful, once the client is let out on their own.
If the program is only geared at getting clean, it is like a temporary willpower struggle. Without the structured environment and frames of in-patient programs, you need to wake up and face the day on your own, make your own choices based on how you feel.
Because if we do not control out mind, it controls us - and we give into running with our feelings, that change like the wind blows.
The only way to not let your mind control you, is to cultivate the mindfulness element of being able to ACCEPT who you are today right now and here in this skin. Understanding that YOU are NOT your body. You may not be comfortable in your body right now, but you must accept and embrace the steps of life, rather than numb out and engage in self-hating.
Change does not come from hate. And this is why we got to learn to sit with our emotions and let them be. Let them present themselves, and that way we can also let them go. Through that comes change. When you are busy avoiding and suppressing, your fear and anxiety builds up to a level of noise inside your head that is impossible to override without your primary drug of choice.
What you resist persists.
So please, if you do anything this week, start implementing this step into your recovery,
Wherever you are on your path matters not, just start.
Start accepting yourself just 11 minutes everyday. We all need to do that, to not just survive, but to THRIVE in this age of information overload and constant tech distractions. Most of us are drowning a little bit everyday - we need to learn how to swim. Meditation is equal to swimming with today's current.
Sit with yourself, begin to listen to what the voices inside your head are saying and know that you will be OK. Yes, the things we tell ourselves are often quite nasty, but it only gets worse, when we refuse to listen and become conscious of how much garbage talk is going on inside our heads all day.
To change anything, you must first accept it.
NOT numb out from it, or distract yourself. When you numb yourself from pain, your numb yourself from bliss - you are emotionally dead and life becomes shades of gray.
The easiest way to cultivate this ability, and also to begin to reset your hunger switch and understand when you are physically hungry and when you are full, or when you are in danger of relapsing into addiction, is to meditate every day. Just show up for yourself every day 11 minutes and listen to a sound that is designed to cultivate healing on a cell-level - you can google sound meditation to find a song that resonates with you.
Specific sound frequencies have been clinically shown to alter physical matter.
Sound can heal your body, mind and soul. And by listening to sound you bypass your conscious mind and can enter emotions and catalyze change much more rapid at a core level. This is why sound therapy is especially key for anyone dealing with addictions and eating disorders, where the voices inside your head and the biochemical imbalances often are so strong, that it is almost impossible to work on changing your thoughts, as you feel like your mind is controlling you, rather then you controlling your mind.
How To Start This Step?
- Every morning set aside 11 minutes to sit with your legs crossed in "easy pose" and choose a meditation sound/music piece that lasts for that time frame. The music and mantra to Sat Narayan is specifically designed to help remove blockages and attachments in addictions.
- Place your hands in gyan mudra to activate acupressure points involved in confidence on the material level (= in this skin you are in).
- Close your eyes.
- Sing along to the mantra playing to encourage healing within or just listen.
- Do this every morning, no excuse - after a couple months you will notice how you are able to tap into inner peace and slowly cultivate body-mind connection on demand.
This is something that everyone ideally should do everyday - 11 minutes is all it takes to reset your nervous system and make new neuro-pathways in your brain to encourage new habits to form.
The key to master and benefit form this, however, is consistency.
I am not asking you to stop your destructive behaviors overnight, I am simply asking you to use 11 minutes of you day to be with yourself. If you are not ready to do this now, then when?
Do it and do it every day.
I promise you, this is the simplest yet the most powerful tool I have ever experienced to change almost impossible long-term destructive behaviors - that and it helps you to thrive in recovery, as it resets your brain every single time you do it - needing less and less other outlets to manage your emotions over time.