Often at the root of our urge to smoke, we will find anxious ruminations simmering just under the surface. It may be the weariness from a long week, the stress of planning for an upcoming trip or move or the fears that plague you as you try to fall asleep that has you reaching for your preferred hit of weed to chase away the anxieties.
While this may have worked initially, those in recovery know that marijuana use as someone’s only coping skill soon leads to riskier and more addictive substances to quell any future discomfort.
Those in recovery need more coping skills than the one-trick fleeting moments of stress relief that cannabis can offer.
To get to the root of what’s going on inside you and find lasting relief, try some mindfulness.
Here are some suggestions that incorporate your natural internal resources and mindfulness as a way to process anxious feelings that can cause the urge to smoke:
Ask yourself what is truly wrong in this very moment.
Usually, there is a bit of space to observe that in this very moment, fundamentally, all is well in the here and now. Breathe into that felt sense of calmness. That tiny space can become bigger and more comfortable as you focus on noticing the peace in the current moment.
Notice where your body is holding the anxiety.
Connect with that spot with your hand and take some long, deep breaths. Consciously breathing in all that is good while releasing all the tension, stress and anxiety on the exhale. Do this with a slow, mindful intention as many times as needed to notice a reduction in your body’s anxious response.
Remind yourself of your resilience and strength.
Remember a time when things were hard, and you came out the other side okay. Remember that “this too shall pass” and that you have the ability to intervene and regulate your emotions and body’s response to the anxiety. Take yourself back to the feeling you felt when you accomplished something difficult or challenging.
Name those feelings: confidence, peace, happiness, joy, etc. Remember how your body felt. Remember how you stood and walked. Then bring those feelings into the here and now. Stand that way, smile that way, BE that way. Your mind will follow your body.
Make a conscious decision to let go of unnecessary anxiety.
Imagine yourself taking a deep breath and exhaling all the unnecessary stress into a big balloon. Imagine that anxiety contained in the balloon floating around the room but unable to return to you. It’s there, but it isn’t affecting you. You can see that it’s anxiety.
You can be aware of it, but it isn’t inside you or paralyzing you or scaring you. The space has been created to make a plan to take care of some of the things that may be causing stress and anxiety.
It Takes Practice
When you take the time to practice it, mindfulness can be just as powerful a tool to combat your daily anxieties and stress as the cannabis you once used to regulate. It drives even more power because it comes from inside you and can be accessed in any place or situation that you may find yourself in.
The urge to smoke may be great, but so is the relief of knowing that your commitment to your future is greater. Reach out to us at Promises Behavioral Health for help taking the next steps towards a brighter future.