“The first step to breaking free from addiction is the desire to experience a different state of mind. It’s feeling connected to something more powerful than yourself, and meditation is one way to help you get there.

-Rose Caiola

Positive habits create mental boost

Learning to distract yourself is an important tool in dealing with mental health problems. Recovery from addiction is a time to test out more positive ways of living by cutting out unhealthy habits and trying out new things. Of course having hobbies, in general, can have a number of positive effects on your life, but some are better for you than others. Here are a few hobbies that will help you during recovery and make you a stronger and healthier individual.

Take Up Yoga or Tai Chi

Exercise is always a good habit for anyone to begin and maintain. For people recovering from addiction, particularly if they have another mental illness, exercise is one of the best ways to keep your spirits up and limit the effects of your conditions. Exercising releases endorphins and other chemical compounds that reduce stress and improve mood.

Yoga and Tai Chi are highly recommended forms of exercise because they are inclusive of all ages, abilities and body types. They also utilize meditative thoughts, pacifying the mind and any mental symptoms you may be experiencing. Both can make you a fitter, more serene person. Both have helped me tremendously in this area.

Join a Meditation Group

group meditation class
I honestly don’t know how I ever got through life before I discovered meditation. It has similar mental effects to yoga and Tai Chi. Learning to meditate helps you to gain control over your thoughts and emotions by silencing your mind and allowing yourself to relax. Meditation is an invaluable tool for those in recovery from addiction and other mental illnesses.

First, establishing a regular meditation practice alone or with a group is key. Then, you can call on it during a bad day, when negative symptoms strike, when you feel the urge to relapse or any other time you want to feel better.

Learn a Practical Craft for Volunteer Work

Volunteering is a wonderful way to boost your self-image and feel good about yourself –  improving your overall mental health – while helping others. While some may opt to go out and physically volunteer, there are other ways you can be helpful to those in need. For instance, crafts such as quilting, knitting, crocheting can all be used to create donation items. I like to make hats, scarves and blankets and hand them out to homeless shelters or dog shelters.

Take a Dog Training Class

A Diamond Ring, a Dog Saved, a Promise Kept

Dogs are also a great mental health boost for people. They provide stress reduction, affection and exercise for their owners. Since many people cannot afford or fit a dog into their lives, dog training could be a great hobby for you. Not only is this a marketable skill, but you can spend quality time with a four-legged stress-reducer. If you do have your own dog, taking specialty classes together – such as tracking or agility – can be a wonderful way to pass time and have fun.

Overcoming addiction may not be easy, but there are things you can do to make the process smoother.  New hobbies can create positive life changes to get your life back on track while you are working on addiction recovery. Try a class, start something new on your own or with a friend, and see how a healthy hobby affects your overall mental outlook.


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