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Friday, January 4, 2019

Link Between Mindfulness and Emotional Regulation

mindfulness meditation
Learning to be more mindful – or paying attention on purpose without judgement – has been found to be a vital tool in emotional control. This is because mindfulness can help prevent you from simply reacting without considering any consequences.

"Being aware of physical sensations, thoughts and emotions – both pleasant and unpleasant –can help us choose how to respond, rather than simply react," Dr. Timothy Riley, an assistant professor in the family and community medicine department at Penn State Health, said in a news release.

This is an especially helpful skill for people in recovery, who need to ride out cravings and gain greater control of negative emotions.

Riley offered an example of how mindfulness can help in an everyday situation: You see a cookie at Starbucks and want the cookie, he explained. Then you may become guilty for wanting the cookie. If you're mindful, however, you notice the cookie and are aware of your emotional response – and you can let it be without judgment, Riley added.

"It puts you in this observer stance where we can witness what is happening without getting wrapped up in it," he said. "It gives you a bit of space."

In other words, being mindful allows us to sit back and think whether or not it’s wise to buy the cookie and why we really want the cookie. Is it because of hunger or are you looking to fill another void? It also helps quell your inner child, who may feel like screaming, yelling, crying or throwing a fit because she can't have that cookie.

This might seem simple but being more mindful is something we all need to work on daily. Luckily, a little bit of practice goes a long way.

Helping You Become More Mindful in Recovery
Meditation is a great way to strengthen your mindfulness muscle so you’ll find it much easier to become present throughout the day. 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 28, 2018

Traveling for Addiction Treatment

There are many considerations that happen after you make the decision to get help for your addiction. This includes whether or not you should travel or stay close to home for addiction treatment.

After all, finding the right addiction treatment facility can mean the difference between recovery and relapse. And sometimes you have no choice but to seek care out-of-state, especially if there’s not a nearby high-quality rehab.

Expanding your addiction treatment search to include other cities and states will also give you more options. For example, you’ll be able to choose a facility on factors like size, traditional 12-step vs. alternative and holistic treatment, dual diagnosis treatment, accepted insurance and finance options and local recovery scene. Ideally, your recovery should happen in a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed.

If you’re concerned about privacy or protecting your reputation, attending treatment outside of your community may also be a wise decision. Yet most reputable addiction treatment centers pride themselves on privacy and discretion.

Another reason some individuals opt to travel for treatment is to have fewer distractions and more space to heal and embrace change. Traveling for addiction treatment can give you fresh start and fresh perspective. During recovery, it’s essential to focus on you and the recovery process – and this may mean removing yourself from friends, family and daily stressors. Adding a little physical distance between you and your hometown triggers can also allow you to see your addictive habits and patterns through a more objective lens.

Traveling to Complete Harmony
We pride ourselves on empowering our clients to achieve and maintain sobriety through the use of holistic therapies and non-12-step alternative approaches. We offer the entire continuum of care, including detox, residential addiction treatment and outpatient programs. To learn more about our cutting-edge treatment in Southern California, call us today: 866-930-4673.



Friday, December 14, 2018

Are You Prepared for Holiday Triggers?

holiday triggers
A big part of staying sober this holiday is learning how to recognize and avoid your triggers, or those people, places or things that could jeopardize your recovery.

Triggers are everywhere all of the time and the holidays are no exception. In fact, they may even present themselves more this season because of the extra stress and added pressure to attend social events and spend time with family. Especially if you’re in early recovery, this may also be a time when new triggers arise.

Here are a few common holiday triggers:
  • Returning to a hometown or childhood location 
  • Attending holiday parties or seeing old friends 
  • Stress over seeing family or friends that you haven’t seen in a while or with whom you have a fractured relationship due to your past addiction
  • Talking about your recovery with friends and family
  • Smelling certain food or drinks 
  • Holiday shopping with large crowds 
  • People drinking or smoking or using drugs in front of you 
  • Alcohol and wine bottles on the dinner table, or free flowing throughout events 
  • Loneliness, loss and shame 
  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Financial pressure
Smart, Sober Planning 
Like other times of the year, your number-one priority is to stay focused on your goal of lasting sobriety – and having a plan in place can help. Many addiction experts recommend making a list of triggers along with ways to cope with those triggers. For example, if a certain family member makes you want to use again, try to figure out how to either avoid that person or figure out what to say if an uncomfortable conversation arises. Or, if holiday shopping with large crowds is too triggering, skip the mall and shop for your loved ones online.

If this is your first holiday sober, you may even opt to skip holiday events all together and spend some quiet time with a trusted loved one, friend or recovery peer. Don’t feel bad or guilty; your loved ones who support you and your recovery will understand. Plus, as you progress in your recovery you’ll likely feel more comfortable attending these gatherings.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reminds people in recovery that practicing self-care is a priority no matter the season -- and with additional stress and temptation everywhere, it’s even more important to be mindful about eating and exercise habits. Go for a daily walk. Be sure to drink plenty of water and indulge in sweets and caffeine in moderation.

And make sure to lean on your support system. It’s important to know that you are not alone as you work to stay sober this season. Be open and honest about how you are feeling – many of your supports have likely walked in your shoes and can give you valuable advice for dealing with holidays triggers.

The Holidays at Complete Harmony
We are here to help you have a happy, sober holiday season! Contact us today to begin your recovery journey, heal relationships and begin building a sober social network. Call: 866-930-4673.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Dealing With Urges and Cravings


It’s pretty normal to battle urges and cravings during recovery – but that doesn’t mean that they have to win! The good news is that cravings and urgings do decrease in strength and frequency over time. In the meantime, here are a few proven strategies to help amp up your defenses and prevent relapse. 
  • Delay and distract. When you get an urge or craving, the goal is to delay it, so it eventually passes. One way to do this is to find a healthy distraction. For example, you can go for a brisk walk, cue a funny YouTube video, run up and down the stairs, scroll social media, color in an adult coloring book. Start a running list of some possibilities – and have that list some place accessible when an urge or craving strikes. 
  • Know your triggers. Is it a beer or wine commercial or song on the radio or driving past an old haunt? Make a list so you know your triggers and then do your best to avoid and escape them. Just the simple act of refocusing your mind away from your trigger can help lessen any cravings or urges. 
  • Accept and understand. A big part of recovery is learning to accept discomfort – and this includes the way you feel when you get an urge or craving. Remind yourself that it’s normal and that it will pass and that the discomfort is a small price to pay for lasting sobriety. 
Relapse Prevention at Complete Harmony
Preventing relapse and ensuring lasting sobriety means creating long-term strategies to deal with urges, cravings, negative patterns, emotional duress, poor self-esteem and more. We help our clients change behaviors from the inside out with proven holistic treatment approaches to addiction. To learn more about our alternative relapse prevention program, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, November 23, 2018

How Exercise Can Help Fight Relapse

exercise fight relapse

Unfortunately, relapse is all-too common when it comes to recovery from drugs and/or alcohol. This is partly due to the many triggers – or people, places or things – that are so hard to resist. Yet a new study shines light on another possible tool against relapse for people struggling with a substance use disorder: exercise.

While previous studies have shown a link between physical activity and reduced cravings, a recent mice study found that exercise may just strengthen a person’s resolve by altering the production of peptides in the brain. The findings were published in the journal ACS Omega.

Mice were given injections of cocaine and placed in a cage with unique flooring designed to mirror a drug using environment. The goal was to imprint these features into their memories. After four days, the mice were moved to special cages with running wheels for 30 days.

The mice who jumped on the wheels had lower levels of brain peptides related to myelin, a substance thought to help fix memories in place and, when re-exposed to the cocaine-associated environment, they showed a reduced preference for the cocaine-associated environment compared with sedentary mice. Researchers also found lower levels of actin in the mice that exercised. This is important because actin is involved in learning and memory and drug-seeking behaviors in those with substance use disorders, according to researchers.

The takeaway: “Regular exercise can be helpful with self-care, which can assist someone with an overall goal of wellness,” Costa Provis, a licensed psychotherapist who works with clients in recovery from drug and alcohol, told reporters. However, exercise is not a cure-all, Provis cautioned. A better plan would be to combine exercise with other proven relapse prevention strategies and coping techniques.

Relapse Prevention at Complete Harmony
Relapse prevention is key for long-term recovery – and we're here to help. At Complete Harmony, our holistic treatment and relapse prevention plans provide a firm foundation for lifelong sobriety. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.



Friday, October 26, 2018

Tips for Recovery-Boosting Sleep


sleep tipsYou can’t be your best in recovery unless you care for your mind, body and spirit – and quality sleep can strengthen those connections. Regular, restorative sleep will allow you to feel present, energetic, focused and emotionally balanced. Sleep will also enable you to adopt a more positive mindset to overcome any challenges or setbacks along the way. 

Unfortunately, it’s pretty common for people in recovery to struggle with sleep. This is mainly because addiction as well as co-occurring mental illnesses can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythms. Plus, a long history of abusing drugs or alcohol often leads to poor sleep hygiene. Luckily, these steps you can help enhance your recovery and improve your shut-eye. 
  • Avoid long, late-day naps. While a short nap (20 minutes or less) can help you feel revitalized and refreshed, a longer nap can cause you to feel groggy and disrupt your sleep cycle. It’s also wise to avoid naps after 3 pm, which will do more harm than good.  
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. This means doing your best to wake up and turn in the same time each night – even on weekends. 
  • Create a ritual for bedtime. Whether you do gentle yoga poses, stretch, meditate, read, listen to calming music or soak in a bath, that half hour prior to bedtime should consist of something that relaxes your mind and body. 
  • Watch what you eat or drink. Eating too much or too little before bedtime can interfere with your sleep. If you’re looking for a bedtime snack, choose a healthy food combo that will fill you up and help you feel energized in the morning. Some examples: apple with nut butter, cottage cheese and peaches, whole-grain toast with avocado or a banana and a handful of sunflower seeds. Also, avoid nicotine and caffeine, which disrupt sleep cycles. 
  • Exercise every day. A regular exercise routine has been study-proven to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly through the night. Just be careful not to work out too close to bedtime, as you may be too amped up to fall asleep. 
  • Eliminate light and sound. This means shutting off smartphones, computers, laptops and other electronics. To block outside light and noise, consider using blackout curtains, eyeshades, earplugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices. 
Healing the Mind, Body and Spirit
At Complete Harmony, we use traditional and holistic therapies to help clients rediscover their mind body connection and address  the secondary health challenges that complicate substance abuse. To learn more about our cutting-edge treatments, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Low Self-Esteem and Stress Linked to Opioid Use


opioid use
Is there a link between life stressors – health, money, work, family and romance – low self-esteem and opioid use? This is what researchers from Binghamton University set out to discover when they surveyed 1,000-plus adults.

The results: Researchers found that high life stressors plus poor self-esteem does increase the chances for opioid use. This is partly because opioids increase the effects of dopamine and serotonin in the brain – and people with low self-esteem are attracted to the drugs because they have the ability to change how they feel about themselves, noted Binghamton University graduate student and researcher Damla Aksen, in a statement.

“In other words, opioids may serve as self-medication in response to social stressors and its cascade of negative consequences,” Aksen said.

The researchers hope these findings will urge addiction professionals to be mindful of the risk factors that contribute to opioid abuse and work to educate individuals about the particular life stressors that increase an individual’s risk for opioid abuse.

More About Stress
What might be a stressor for one person may not be a trigger for you. Stress is individual and so is the way in which you best cope with it. In addition to caring for your mental health – getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, making time for yourself, taking breaks – you might need to experiment with a few stress-reducing activities to find out what work best for you. 

Some ideas:

  • Exercising
  • Listening to music
  • Reading a book
  • Writing
  • Meditation
  • Massage
  • Sober socialization or spending time with a friend or relative
  • Talking with a trained mental health professional
Holistic Therapies for Recovery & Stress ManagementIf stress and low self-esteem has contributed to your opioid abuse, Complete Harmony has a recovery path to help your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Our model for hybrid addiction treatment includes comfortable detox and holistic therapies like massage, meditation and yoga. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.





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