Getting Started with Mindfulness: Being Present
We introduced the concept of mindfulness yesterday, which is a practice of reconnecting to our bodies, breath, and the present moment. This tool is incredibly helpful in our journey to remove alcohol from our lives, and helps us begin to build a vibrant life after the initial work of “quitting.” Mindfulness has proven to improve cognitive functioning, decrease depression and anxiety, and is a tool in our alcohol-free toolbox that we can bring anywhere with us.
The first step to utilizing mindfulness is to tune into the present. We live in a hectic world with high demands on our time, energy, and resources, and so often, we feel like we’re either way behind or we’re already focusing on the next thing. Being present is no longer intuitive to us like it used to be when we were a kid focused on building the best block tower ever. Now we’re hurrying through the block tower so that we can move on to the next task on our play to-do list.
As we’ve learned, alcohol is a substance that specifically impairs our ability to be present. When we’re tipsy or intoxicated, we’ve actively removed ourselves from the present moment and blurred the edges. Our responses are blunted, our memories are fuzzy, and our emotions are dampened. Our attention is elsewhere, either because we’re thinking about drinking, or because the alcohol has already begun to do its work and is impairing our prefrontal cortex. This means we’re missing the good too; when we’re consuming alcohol in celebration, we are still not fully present in the moment.