Compassion and empathy are cornerstones of quality recovery programs and services. Professionals in the field of addiction recovery understand the importance of showing sympathy and genuine concern for the people who come to them for help. Clients are encouraged to practice self-compassion during treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring diagnoses.
According to Substance Abuse: Research Treatment, “Self-compassion allows oneself to be aware of one’s faults and not become overwhelmed by negative emotions, as individuals who are compassionate toward their failures are more likely to take healthy steps to address them.” Facilities like Bella Monte Recovery Center use trauma-informed care and peer support to help clients heal.
Mindfulness and Compassion in Everyday Life
Recovery from SUD is a journey, not a destination, and individuals who want to maintain long-term sobriety need to practice self-compassion. You can lower stress and improve your moods by releasing negative emotions and challenging maladaptive thought patterns. A few ways people practice mindfulness and compassion in everyday life include:
- Serve others
- Show kindness and empathy
- Practice forgiveness
- Listen to others
Every day comes with unique challenges like relationship issues, triggers, cravings, and work stressors. How you handle those difficult moments will determine how effectively you can maintain long-term sobriety. Each choice you make impacts your physical and mental health. An excellent way to practice compassion is by mentally taking a step back and objectively looking at the situation and all the people in it. Take a moment to acknowledge how you feel about the problem and figure out the healthiest way to move forward. Taking your own needs into account is a good way to practice self-compassion and self-care.
How to Practice Self-Care
Self-care involves showing yourself grace and compassion. Some examples of self-care include:
- Taking time for yourself
- Doing something you enjoy
- Spending quality time with your loved ones
- Taking time to play with your pets
- Trying a new activity
- Attending an interesting event
- Eating foods you enjoy
Regularly practicing self-care can improve your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Recovery is about looking after your health and ensuring your life remains balanced and stable. You might find yourself in a situation that leaves you feeling tempted to slip back into old behaviors. In those moments, give yourself grace and forgiveness. Recovery is not linear, and it is normal to struggle harder some days compared to others. Avoid staying in a state of fear, regret, guilt, or sadness. You can recover from any setback and keep moving forward if you choose to be compassionate and use your resources. Be empathetic with others and yourself while learning from mistakes.
Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable
Showing compassion for yourself is a valuable tool that allows you to develop positive social bonds and maintain healthy self-awareness. However, it can leave you feeling vulnerable in certain situations. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable during treatment and ongoing recovery is not easy. Facilities like Bella Monte Recovery Center use mindfulness-based techniques to encourage healing and personal growth.
3 Ways to Show Compassion Every Day
Every day is a new opportunity to show compassion to yourself and others around you. Below are three ways to show compassion that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
#1. Practice Self-Forgiveness
Self-forgiveness is the ultimate form of self-compassion because it allows you to process and learn from mistakes without holding onto them. Forgiving yourself for actions you regret does not mean the consequences go away. However, it does permit you to let go of negative emotions and move forward in your recovery and healing.
#2. Give Others the Space to Grow
Showing compassion to others includes giving them the space to grow and gain self-awareness. Not everyone is in a place where they can recognize their own issues or acknowledge mistakes. Instead of writing them off, you have an opportunity to show compassion and forgiveness by giving them the time and space to learn and make better choices.
#3. Use Compassionate Language
How you talk about yourself and others can significantly affect your mental health and self-esteem. Stigmatizing and self-stigmatizing language can be damaging to people in recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Feeling stigmatized can reduce the willingness of individuals with substance use disorder to seek care for substance use problems . . . basic primary health, or mental health.” Using person-first language is an excellent way to replace negative terms.
How Serving Others Improves Mental Health
Serving others out of compassion and empathy can provide excellent motivation for long-term recovery. Many people find meaning in helping others and building a better future for themselves and their families. Peer communities and advocacy groups offer a space where you can interact with others who share similar life experiences and find new ways to uplift and support each other. The recovery community has many opportunities to serve others with compassion.
Compassion is an essential human trait. We use it to heal and move forward after harmful, stressful, and traumatizing experiences. Allowing yourself to feel self-compassion and self-forgiveness enhances the effectiveness of treatment and therapy. You deserve to feel supported and understood. Making positive life changes involves looking after your well-being. Self-care is a vital part of the recovery process. Everyone deserves the opportunity to heal and build a healthier future for themselves and their family. Compassion allows us to let go of the past while still taking responsibility for the consequences of harmful actions or inaction. Recovery is about healing, personal growth, and learning to look toward the future. At Bella Monte Recovery Center, we offer a wide range of modalities that give our clients the tools they need to recover their self-confidence and self-esteem. To learn more, call us today at (800) 974-1938.