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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Study Links Sleep Loss and Depression

Making sleep a priority is perhaps the best thing you can do to stop negative thinking and safeguard your mental health. In fact, a new study links chronic lack of sleep with an increased risk of depression. 

Researchers from Binghamton University says the connection is due to a phenomenon called repetitive negative thinking (RNT), which the study authors define as “abstract, perseverative, negative focus on one's problems and experiences that is difficult to control.” And an inability to suppress negative thoughts is a common symptom of both mood and anxiety disorders.

Study participants were asked to view negative images (guns, knives, threatening animals), positive images (nature, sports) or neutral ones (household items). It turned out that people who slept fewer hours looked at the negative images longer and had more trouble disengaging from them. 

While more research is needed, study authors say that a lack of sleep may deteriorate the neural processes that normally suppress or shed negative thoughts and negative incoming information.

“[The connection] may be explained by a reduction in available cognitive resources, particularly those needed to inhibit information and handle novel information,” the authors write in their paper. “It is possible that sleep disruption deals a ‘second hit’ to attention control in individuals who are already vulnerable in their subjective and/or physiological responses to negative information.”

Sleeping for Sobriety
Maintaining a proper sleep schedule can certainly go a long way toward helping your recovery. Here are a few reasons why:
  • You’ll have better emotional control.
  • You'll have increased energy and optimism. 
  • You’ll have more focus and better memory. 
  • You’ll have a stronger immune system. 
Are You Struggling With Depression and Addiction?
Co-occurring conditions like depression may exist prior to substance abuse, or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. Using traditional and holistic therapies, Complete Harmony has a proven history of successfully addressing the secondary health challenges that complicate substance abuse. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Practicing Anti-Drug/Drink Activities

A big part of staying sober and avoiding relapse is gaining a sense of control over your cravings. To help switch your focus away from drugs or alcohol, addiction experts advise creating a list of “anti-drug” and/or “anti-drink” activities. These simple actions are meant to serve as healthy distractions and to fill your time by giving you positive things to do.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the people who are most successful at staying sober do two anti-drugs/ drinks in particular: go to counseling and join a self-help group. 

Here are a few more suggestions from SAMHSA that might work for you:
  • Chew gum when you crave a drug or drink.
  • Call your self-help group sponsor or a friend instead of going to places where you might use. 
  • Watch movies.
  • Shoot some baskets with friends.
  • Read an inspirational book.
  • Keep pictures of your children in your pocket as motivation to stay away from alcohol and drugs. 
  • Join a faith organization that supports recovery. 
  • Find a volunteer position that keeps you busy and away from others who use. 
  • Pray or meditate.
  • Practice mindfulness.

Take this list of ideas and add a few of your own. The more anti-drugs/anti-drinks you have the better, notes SAMHSA. Consider brainstorming with your addiction counselor or peers to come up with activities that align with your personal interests and individual recovery goals. 

Relapse Prevention at Complete Harmony
To prevent relapse and ensure long-term sobriety, it’s crucial to have long-term strategies for dealing with physical and psychological cravings, negative patterns, emotional duress, poor self-esteem and more. Our holistic approach to recovery helps clients change behaviors from the inside out; rather than just putting a bandage on addictive tendencies. To learn more about our alternative relapse prevention program, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, January 5, 2018

How to Set New Year’s Intentions

Have you made resolutions in the past – or even this year – that have quickly fizzled, or worse, made you feel like a failure? If so, you may want to consider setting intentions; it’s not too late.

This is because intentions don’t tie you to a specific outcome – and there’s no timeline or deadline to meet – so you’ll eliminate any feelings of failure. In short, intentions simply require that you’re mindful and present as you go through your day, hour-to-hour. Intentions invite you to be your personal best and can serve as a map for your goals and visions.

“Intention is the starting point of every dream,” Deepak Chopra, MD, best-selling author, physician, and founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, CA, told “It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.” 

Here are a few tips, adapted from the experts at, for setting an intention in the New Year: 

Tap into your inner voice. Take some quite time or even mediate and ask yourself: What gives you passion and fills you with a sense of purpose? 

Some examples: 
  • I intend to manifest happiness naturally.
  • I intend to respond first, and then react.
  • I intend to be open to success and abundance.
  • I intend to stop taking things personally.
  • I intend to forgive others, and myself.
  • I intend to love unconditionally.
  • I intend to make meditation a more important part of my lifestyle.
  • I intend to make someone smile every day.
Keep it positive. An intention should not be negative, nor should it be in the past or future tense. So, for example, if your intention is to de-stress, say something like: “My intention is to invite peace and calm within myself during today's meditation," note experts at 

Hold yourself accountable. Many people, like blogger Jessica Hagy, say that it’s helpful to check in with yourself daily. “Every morning before I wake up, I place my hand on my heart for just a few seconds or a few moments, and I breathe, connect to myself, send love to myself, and send love to the day. Then I set an intention for my day,” she writes. 

Be grateful. Take a few moments to be grateful for the intention you have set. And don’t be afraid to adjust your intention after a few days. For example: If your intentions is "to invite peace and calm in,” you can change it "to enjoy the peace I create in myself.”

Finding Holistic Treatment for You
At Complete Harmony, we encourage the use of many different cutting-edge techniques to help clients heal the mind, body and spirit. To learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, call today: 866-930-4673.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tips for Getting Through the Holidays Sober

The holidays can be extremely challenging for anyone trying to recover from alcohol or drug addiction. “Instead of the '12 Days of Christmas,' it was more like the '12 Days of Relapse Temptations,' wrote one blogger about her first sober holiday. 

So how do you get through the holidays sober? Here are a few tips that have worked for others in recovery. Take a look and see if they’ll work for you, too:  
  • Identify your personal triggers. Recognizing and planning for triggers is a crucial part of relapse prevention. Do certain people, places, movies or songs stir memories of the times you were using? Make a list and share it with family and sober friends and/or your addiction counselor. Together, you can figure out how to avoid and/or manage these culprits. 
  • Ask for help. Isolating yourself is perhaps the worst thing you can do this holiday season. Instead, reach out to loved ones and recovery peers to help you through the season. Attend support groups (online or in-person) and/or organize sober get-togethers with those closest to you. By surrounding yourself with those who support your recovery efforts, you are putting yourself in a position to succeed.
  • Lend a hand. For many folks in recovery, helping out those less fortunate is a win-win during the holidays. You’ll make a positive impact in someone else’s life and be reminded of how far you’ve come and how thankful you should be. Some ideas: Volunteer at a local homeless shelter, wrap gifts at a nearby hospital or support someone else who is trying to recover from addiction.
  • Flex your “no” muscle. It’s okay (and necessary) to turn down invitations to festivities that could trigger relapse. And, if the host is truly a friend, he or she will fully understand and support your commitment to your recovery. 
  • Get moving. Exercising during recovery is a great way to reduce stress and build-up your self-esteem so you’re calm and focused on enjoying the festivities without alcohol or drugs. 
  • Start a daily gratitude ritual. Over the next few days, wake up and write down one thing for which you’re truly grateful. Many people in recovery say practicing gratitude can help set the tone for a positive holiday. And, if it works, why not carry it into the New Year and beyond.
  • Get in the spirit. Being sober during the holidays shouldn’t stop you from having fun! Bake some cookies, go for a hike, invite a friend for hot chocolate or check out a new movie — the possibilities are endless. Go ahead and build some new sober memories this holiday season. 
Wishing you joy, peace, happiness and lasting sobriety! 

Ready to Begin Recovery? 
If you feel it’s time for a new beginning, don’t let the holidays stand in your way. At Complete Harmony, we can tailor a treatment program to meet your needs at any time of year. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Meditating for Warmth and Gratitude This Season

We’ve talked about the importance of meditation for addiction recovery. To recap: A few of the many benefits include: 
  • Better focus
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Improved impulse control
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Deeper spiritual connection
But did you know that meditation can also help you ward off the winter blues? Studies show that meditation can help improve connections in the brain to help us process emotions. What’s more, the right type of meditation can provide warmth and gratitude – the perfect combo to brighten your mood and help you feel abundant during the winter months. recently published meditation and mindful tips from Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path Meditation, designed to channel gratitude – even when you’re cold and sad. Below is a summary; give it a try or use it as a starting point to create your own. 
  • Take your focus off the parts of your body that are cold (like your hands or feet) and turn your attention to an area that feels warm. For example, if you’re wearing a cozy sweater, feel the warmth of your arms. How does it feel? Examine the sensation.
  • Now take a moment to be grateful for your warm sweater and be grateful for yourself for putting it on this morning.
  • Engage your sense of sight. Do you see holiday decorations or leaves on the ground or an ornate architectural detail you’ve never noticed? What colors do you see around you? Admire the beauty of any nature or craftsmanship in your field of vision.
  • Now take a moment to be grateful for all nature, colors and details and your fortune to notice and admire them.
  • Tap into your sense of smell. Can you detect a nearby house fire or coffee from a cafĂ©? Again, be grateful for all the delicious smells in your environment.
  • Now go back to your sense of feeling. And ask yourself the following: What does your warm clothing feel like on your body? What does the ground feel like under your shoes? What do your shoes feel like on your feet? 
  • Let the warm sensation of gratitude fill you up as you continue to light up your senses and enjoy the holiday season.
Finding Holistic Treatment for You
At Complete Harmony, we encourage the use of many different cutting-edge techniques to help clients heal the mind, body and spirit, including mediation. To learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Why You Should Embrace Being Uncomfortable

We likely don’t have to tell you that the recovery process is far from an easy journey. It’s a challenge and you ‘ll likely feel uncomfortable along the way – from detox, or talking about your history of addiction to a counselor, or trying a new holistic treatment, or making amends or socializing without the crutch of drugs or alcohol. 

Whatever the cause, learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable parts of recovery is a crucial step toward successfully living clean and healthy. Think about it. If everything came easy, if you were never challenged, if you only remained in your comfort zone, you likely wouldn’t even be in rehab today. You can’t grow and improve without being a little uncomfortable.

In fact, millions of successful people – inside and out of the recovery community – swear by this strategy to successfully achieve their goals. The first step: just show up. 

That’s right. Just by seeking help for your addiction, you’re already beginning to learn. It’s never comfortable or easy to start something new and you may even reach a point when you want to quit. Don’t. This is the time to push yourself past your comfort zone and remind yourself that you’re committed to your recovery and there’s no turning back.

But how do you do this? Some experts say to “fake it to you make it.” In other words, you might be thinking to yourself “I can’t do this.” “I don’t know what I’m doing.” “I’ve never done this before.”

Here’s where you can teach yourself to fake confidence. Try a little positive self-talk: “I can do this.” “I'm a quick study.” “I’ll get the hang of this in no time.”

This is also when your support network really counts. Share your uncomfortable stories with your recovery peers, friends and family. Talking about these experiences with others will help put things in perspective and you’ll likely learn some new strategies for being more comfortable in these situations, too.

And, above all, remind yourself that recovery takes time and confidence comes from practice. Each time you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you’re one step closer to overcoming the challenges of lasting sobriety. 

Holistic Addiction Treatment by the Sea
Located at our beautiful beach community retreat in Southern California, Complete Harmony serves individuals seeking an alternative to conventional drug and alcohol recovery. To begin your journey toward mindful empowerment, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Tips to Stay in the Present

In today’s busy world, it’s all too easy to get distracted from the present and what’s truly important – namely, your recovery. And while it’s pretty easy to be mindful for a few moments, it takes discipline to bring mindfulness into your every day. 

Luckily, a little training can help you build your mindfulness muscle. And once you develop the skill, you can make it a regular part of your daily journey toward sobriety. 

Here are few tips to help you stay in the present: 

Get familiar with your negative feelings. A big part of mindfulness is paying close attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging or trying to fix them. Take time to think about the feelings that tend to cloud your thinking and distract you from the present moment. You may even consider jotting them down so you can refer to the list as a reminder. For example, a few common recovery emotions you may be struggling with include:  
  • Anxiety
  • Regret
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Loneliness
Question your thoughts constantly. You’ll need to flex your mindfulness muscle daily to keep it strong, so this means making an effort to always question (and then let go of) any negative thoughts – especially the ones that get in the way of a healthy recovery. 

Count your breaths. The simple act of focusing on your breath will help you focus on staying in the present. The next time you feel distracted, give it a try: Close your eyes and take a deep breath in for the count of four. Now,  exhale slowly for a count of four. 

Create visual reminders. Whether you tie a string around your finger, wear an elastic around your wrist or hang a few post-it notes in everyday places, visual reminders will help you snap back into the present moment. 

Finding Holistic Treatment for You
At Complete Harmony, we encourage the use of many different cutting-edge techniques to help clients heal the mind, body and spirit, including acupuncture, yoga, mediation, massage therapy, and others. To learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, call today: 866-930-4673.

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