Author: Justin Mckibben
Studying Compassionate Goals
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology actually states that compassionate goals we set are about
“- striving to help others and avoiding selfish behavior” for example, “making a positive difference in someone else’s life.”
Researchers here measured how participating in self-image goals and compassionate goals had an impact on symptoms of depression and anxiety, along with their conflict with others.
This study concluded that its results suggest there is a very real relevance of self-image and compassionate goals for the interpersonal maintenance of issues like depression and anxiety.
Principally, the results held some pros and cons for people with anxiety. The downfall is that trying to boost self-image by avoiding vulnerability backfires, leaving people more depressed and anxious. This can create a difficult cycle to escape from emotionally.
The good news is that by focusing on helping others, we make everyone involved, including ourselves, feel better. This is because showing compassion through action doesn’t just relieve our anxiety or depression in the moment, but it helps us build our relationships, which can reduce anxiety and depression as they grow stronger and healthier. It is a win-win. In recovery from drugs or alcohol, we should take all the wins we can get.
4 Ways to Help Others that Help Us
If you want to utilize acts of kindness to help you grow in your recovery, there are plenty of ways to do it. Here are just 4 examples of things you can do to help others that will help you.
Making constructive comments to others
”Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.”
That statement is no exaggeration. If the pen is mightier than the sword, the spoken word is truly the undisputed champion.
In recovery use your words to help others. Make constructive comments that serve to build others up, while pointing out their strengths and celebrating their successes. This helps us develop a habit of focusing on the good in one another and ultimately in our communities and our lives. It can also build up our relationships to give us strong support.
Having compassion for others’ mistakes
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”
For a lot of people, it is already hard enough to accept their mistakes. Most of us are our worst critics. No one likes people pointing out their shortcomings. We all make mistakes. Try to be compassionate about it when others slip up.
Why is it important to show companion when someone else makes a mistake? Because not only does giving someone an empathetic response make them feel better, it also reinforces our relationship with them. It shows those around you that you are understanding and humble enough to support someone through their mistake without shaming them or holding it over their head.
In recovery, this means a lot because it is important to remember that we are also a work in progress. We have our own faults, and if we want to build a new life we have to move on from the old. Compassion can even help others show you the same support when it’s your turn to mess up.
Don’t be self-centered
“A selfish man is a thief”
In most recovery fellowships there is an emphasis on avoiding the self-centered behavior. Being self-centered is never really beneficial in the long-term, even if it helps you with some level of instant gratification. In addiction recovery, being so self-involved can be counter-productive to healthy growth.
Surely it is ok to take care of yourself and honor yourself. But being self-centered makes it less about self-care and more about self-seeking and being inconsiderate.
In fact, high levels of depression and anxiety tend to make us turn inward and focus on ourselves even more. The worse we feel the more isolated we become. Being considerate of others and finding a way to help them can actually relieve anxiety and depression by turning that energy outward.
In recovery, we should think of others as we improve ourselves. When we realize we must make choices and take action to benefit people other than ourselves, our compassion gives us perspective.
Avoiding harming others
“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”
Last but certainly not least, we can easily help ourselves and others by not causing harm. If you can’t make someone’s life better, at least don’t make it worse. You don’t have to necessarily go out of your way and do random acts of kindness, but at least don’t do random harm to others.
And this kind of compassion is pretty much just common courtesy. It can be active on a small scale and still impact you in recovery. You can throw your trash in a garbage can so someone else doesn’t have to sweep it up later. You could put away your shopping cart at the grocery store, or even use that crazy ‘turn-signal’ thing everyone keeps talking about when you’re driving.
While these seem like silly examples, for some people it goes a long way to just be considerate with the little things. It helps build character slowly but surely, while also giving us a sense of our impact on other people. If we can learn to so how our small kindnesses add up, maybe we will be more aware of the power in our bigger decisions.
Compassion in Addiction Recovery
It might not always be easy, but the important choices often aren’t easy. In addiction recovery, we should try to work on ourselves as often as we can, especially for the benefit of others. If our actions can make a positive effect and help someone else, while helping us stay clean and sober, we are on the right track.
But how do we start on that path?
If you want to begin a new journey that will help you build the life you deserve, while helping those you love most, there is help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Overconfidence in Recovery:
Confidence is supposed to be an excellent quality. We are always told to believe in ourselves in every endeavor we pursue. Whether it is a sport or a school exam, having confidence is touted as the key to success. However, when it comes to addiction recovery, can too much confidence actually become harmful?
Overconfidence Can Lead to Relapse:
The reality is too much confidence is not great in recovery. While it is great to have confidence in your program, it is important to stay humble. The emotions that arise from overconfidence can block underlying issues. Having an overconfident mindset can hinder your recovery process. It is important to make recovery a priority regardless of how much time you have.
Why Overconfidence Encourages Relapse:
- Distorted Self-Image: A major part of recovery is staying humble. Overconfidence makes someone believe that they are not as bad as newcomers. They may start to feel they no longer need their program and start to ponder if they are an addict at all. Overconfidence encourages the belief that it is not a huge deal to have a drink or use casually, which is far from true for an addict.
- Irrational Thoughts: Overconfidence can lead an addict to believe they deserve certain rewards in conjunction to their success. They might feel they are worthy of a celebration. They quickly convince themselves that one drink is not going to hurt them because they are now “in control” of their addiction. This is risky behavior and can lead someone down a slippery slope.
- Complacent Behavior: This is when an addict starts to believe that their addiction is not nearly as bad as they once thought. They start believing that they can now live normally due to the length of time they have been sober. They think they are cured so they slowly stop going to meetings and stop thinking of themselves as an addict. This leads to new addiction or a relapse.
Signs of Overconfidence Include:
- Rejecting suggestions from others
- Seeking immediate results
- Belief in having all the answers
- Always seeing your situation as unique from everyone else
- Feeling that you deserve preferential treatment
- Feeling “healed” or “in control”
- Always wanting to lead instead of listening
It is crucial to understand that addiction will not simply disappear. Regardless of how long you have been sober, addiction can always creep up again. Addiction is not a curable disease; it is a manageable disease that does not have room for overconfidence.
How We Become Too Confident:
Overconfidence may be a trait acquired in recovery, or it can be a trait a person struggled with before sobriety. In fact, most addicts battle overconfidence their entire life. For example, those times you tried to use and thought no one would notice.
Sadly, this behavior can persist after recovery even after hitting rock bottom. Even those with no history of overconfidence can start to become overzealous in their recovery program. They start to believe that they are above the rest of their friends and family because of the work they have done in their recovery.
Consequences of Overconfidence:
When you act too confident, you hurt yourself and others. You hurt others who are still learning to trust the person you have become. You hurt yourself because overconfidence increases the vulnerability to a relapse. It is important to remember that recovery is something that takes effort every single day. Regardless of how much time you have, stay humble in your program. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Remember to support others struggling, and stay focused on your recovery. Overconfidence is not a quality anyone should strive for. Instead, focus on staying sober every single day. If you are struggling to stay sober, or are currently having issues with substance abuse. Please reach out. We want to help you get back on track.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Body image is the way you feel and what you see when you look at your reflection, or what you image when picturing yourself in your mind. It is what you believe about your appearance, and not just about how you look but also how you feel in your own skin, and a lot of people who have struggled with other issues like eating disorders, drug abuse and other compulsions can relate to that sense of feeling out of place even in your own body. A negative body image is often a distortion of your perception. A lot of times it can be a feeling of failure, anxiety or being self-conscious, and typically it contributes to an obsession with dieting or exercise.
The National Eating Disorders Association has a slogan that states:
Be comfortable in your genes.
That is a tribute the fact that your body type has a lot to do with your genetics, and is not a personal failure but a biological signature. It puts the emphasis on the idea of taking comfort in our genetics to remind us of that fact.
When we look in the mirror, most of us focus more on what we don’t like. It’s almost easier to point out our shortcomings than to celebrate our beauty. We allow our feelings and our body image to be dictated by the expectations set in the media, which portrays the ideal body as the coveted actor/actress or supermodel, making it harder for us to appreciate a body that isn’t as “perfect”. The truth is NO body is prefect.
But just as we can be conditioned to expect something abstract and unattainable, we can also condition ourselves to value our bodies and construct a better body image. Here are 5 steps to building a better body image.
- Give yourself some credit
One thing that’s very important is to actually allow yourself to admire the things you like about yourself. A gratitude list a great tool in life, especially for those in recovery. You can start by making a list of things you like about your body, and then every day say some of them to yourself when you wake up, like an affirmation. Try and change it up too, that way it doesn’t just become routine and you actually connect with what you’re saying. But this isn’t all a beauty pageant, so be sure that some of the things on that list aren’t related to your appearance, but instead highlight your worth as an individual.
- Stop comparing
At the end of the day, the reality is that nobody is perfect, and no body is perfect either. No matter who you are, there is always someone out there that might be stronger, faster, or thinner. Someone will always make us feel less than attractive or insecure. The funny part is, there is someone who makes them feel the same way, and it just might be you for a reason you never expected.
Constantly comparing ourselves to others makes us feel inadequate. That grass-is-always-greener mentality will never makes us truly happy with ourselves.
- Treat yourself
You shouldn’t punish yourself for your body image, instead you should treat yourself for all you do to take care of yourself. We are always our worst critics in life, especially when it comes to our bodies. You are probably much harder on yourself than anyone else, and letting go of that prejudice will make it easier.
Give yourself a break once in a while. Treat yourself, and try not to regret or feel guilty about the rewards you give yourself for healthy behaviors.
- Dress the part
They say dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Well, after coming into the office a half dozen times dressed as Batman it donned on me that being practical and comfortable wear more important than a cape and cowl.
Some people try to wear oversized clothes to hide their weight, but it often draws more attention to your size. The same can be said about clothes that are too tight. Dressing in something comfortable that works with your body type is much better.
Comfy NOT baggy…
Fitted NOT tight …
Some say when you look good, you feel better.
Body image always comes back to the mind and our perception. If the way we perceive ourselves is as a failure, and we describe ourselves in our minds with negative self-talk while we nitpick our bodies, we will remain trapped in the picture we are constantly painting of a negative self-image.
By believing in yourself, and turning the negative problem thinking into positive solution based thinking, you can overcome a lot more. Look at yourself and congratulate yourself on your progress. Tell yourself that anything you want to improve you can, and believe it. But also remind yourself that you will be beautiful either way.
Adjusting your mindset can change everything. Celebrating things for what they are instead of ridiculing them for what they are not won’t achieve anything for growth. For a better body image, you have to look past the surface and find a love inside for who you are on the outside.
When struggling with things like eating disorders, mental health or drug abuse it can seem nearly impossible to find the things you love about yourself, but it doesn’t mean those things aren’t there. Getting the right kind of help can open your eyes to the best parts of you that you forgot how to look for. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135