Top Ways To Improve Your Mental And Emotional Health During Recovery
Much research has shown that the key to sustained recovery is reduced psychological distress and finding ways to improve your mental and emotional health.
Unfortunately, getting clean may be the hardest part physically, but staying clean is the hardest part mentally and emotionally.
While we have numerous treatment programs and systems set up to assist addicts, including rehabs, therapies, and AA or Al-Anon, it ultimately comes down to the addict to determine the success of their recovery.
That’s why we’ve outlined five ways to improve your mental and emotional health during recovery to help you stay clean. But, before we explore these tips, let’s explore the CHIME Recovery Model to help us explore the core principles of what principles we can use to track recovery and stay clean.
The Recovery Model for Substance Abuse (CHIME)
While there is a lot of research in this area, one theoretical framework that is gaining acclaim among researchers is the CHIME recovery model. Essentially, this model can be used to evaluate the progress of self-recovery for people struggling with mental health disorders and addiction.
The five core tenants of this framework include:
- Connectedness – Fostering authentic and empathic relationships with others.
- Hope- Fostering belief in one’s self to achieve recovery and stay in recovery.
- Identity – Fostering a broad sense of self and overcoming social stigmas/taboos.
- Meaning – Fostering a sense of meaning socially, spiritually, and individually.
- Empowerment – Taking back control of one’s life, accepting responsibility, and focusing on strengths over faults.
Broadly speaking, many psychologists and therapists use frameworks like CHIME or a Recovery Enhancement Environment (REE) to promote core principles of recovery and track the progress of self-recovery by measuring these inputs.
By tracking the progress of one’s recovery using these inputs, professionals can score or track one’s progress of self-recovery and suggest personalized methods to improve recovery.
With that in mind, we’d like to provide five real-world ways to improve your mental and emotional health in recovery.
5 Ways to Improve Your Mental and Emotional Health in Recovery
1. Find a Purpose
One of the best ways to avoid triggers or relapse is to stay busy. But on a deeper level, to achieve sustained recovery, you need to find a purpose or reason for recovery.
This purpose could be staying clean for your family, staying clean for a job, or finding spiritual meaning or faith.
As AA and many programs preach, it’s challenging to stay clean on your own, which is why many rely on “a power greater than ourselves” to help provide meaning for our lives.
Unfortunately, many thoughts and feelings that lead to addiction form a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we don’t find meaning in our lives, we live meaninglessly and fail to take care of ourselves and the people around us.
To avoid falling into old patterns and staying clean, addicts need to find hope (the belief in themselves) and meaning (a purpose for recovery).
Fortunately, many of the resources we will discuss can lead many to find these two aspects and achieve sustained recovery.
2. Create Meaningful Connections
One of the biggest causes of drug dependence is isolation and anxiety. Many people start with alcohol and marijuana to let go of inhibitions and become more social. Unfortunately, many people then gravitate towards more harmful drug use.
You need to prioritize positive relationships that provide recovery foundations to stay clean. Forming meaningful relationships provides two benefits:
- Learning empathy to see how your actions impact others.
- Overcoming social stigma by finding positive relationships
Both of these perks will help you find a better purpose in your life and hope to overcome your addiction.
This tip will also help improve your overall mental and emotional well-being and eliminate feelings of isolation that lead to addiction.
3. Take Care of Your Physical Health
Physical health is intrinsically tied to emotional and mental health. This is important on two levels:
- Improving diet and mental health boosts emotional well-being and serotonin production
- Forming good habits helps eliminate triggers and bad habits that lead to relapse
Physical exercise is a form of therapy allowing addicts to positively channel anger, anxiety, and uncomfortable feelings. Another essential part of the equation is diet, which has a massive impact on serotonin production, which forms happiness and greater wellness. Overall, improving physical health will lead to greater emotional and mental wellness.
In addition, sticking to a regular workout schedule or a healthy diet instills positive habits that help you form new ones and eliminate bad ones.
4. Start a Journal
One of the best ways to improve your mental and emotional health is by starting a journal and writing down your feelings. A journal can be a great outlet to express confusing feelings and identify triggers that lead to relapse.
If used in conjunction with group therapies and individual therapy, a journal can be a powerful tool to combat anxiety, isolation, and negative emotions that lead to relapse. Journals can also be a powerful force in accepting yourself and overcoming taboos that lead to these emotions above.
5. Seek Therapy and Help
Finally, beyond finding individual meaning and spiritual purpose, you can achieve help through the support of others, including trained professionals. Many resources are available, from outpatient rehabs to counselors trained in addiction recovery.
These professionals will recommend many of the same steps to help sustain recovery by improving mental health outcomes.
As easy as becoming clean may be, staying clean requires mental and emotional resilience. To create that foundation of strength and resilience, addicts need to overcome negative emotions and embrace positive ones through social relationships, individual acceptance, and a higher power.
At DayBreak Treatment Solutions, we offer drug and alcohol treatment and iop treatment programs near Philadelphia to help addicts cope with recovery and improve their mental and emotional state. Browse our education services and contact us to get started on your path to recovery.