Free Therapies: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
Sex addiction is a complex issue. Effective treatment can require a variety of techniques and therapies. Practicing self-compassion and mindfulness are two therapies that can help you in your recovery. They are free, and you can start practicing them right away.
Focus on Breathing:
In mindful breathing, you simply become aware of your breathing. You don’t try to slow it down or speed it up. You don’t try to breathe deeper or more shallowly. You simply focus on breathing.
Kelly McGonigal, PhD suggests three ways to practice mindful breathing. First, is to repetitively think “inhale” or “exhale” as you breathe in and out. Second, is be aware of the sensations breathing creates, such as the movement of your belly or the feel of the air in your nostrils. Third is to count each exhalation until you reach the number ten, then start over. With all three suggestions, when your thoughts drift to something other than your breath, that’s okay, just refocus on your breathing1.
Rather than dreaming about the past or longing (or worrying) about the future, savor the present moment. Whether you are eating a meal, spending time with a friend, walking, working, exercising, playing, talking or typing, become aware of what you are doing and delight in it. Notice the sensations you are experiencing. How does your food taste? What do your fingers feel as they move around the keyboard clicking keys? What is it like being with your friend? What emotions are you feeling?
Savor the sunset right now–the vivid pink and orange and purple colors changing shade and brightness as the clouds move and the sun sinks deeper behind the mountains. Savor being with someone you love. Savor the food you are eating. Savor the feel of the breeze, or the heat or the cold. Savor the feel of your feet hitting hard ground as you walk, or the supporting cushion of your shoes.
You can do guided or self-guided meditation, and the meditation can take different forms. Focusing on different sensations: the earth, your feet, what you hear, your skin. It can include imagination, such as imagining a healing energy flowing through you. You can use music or not. Kelly McGonigal, even shares the idea of walking while you meditate.2
Pause and Observe:
Simply stop and notice. What are your surroundings? How are you standing or sitting? What do you smell or hear? How are you reacting to your thoughts and feelings? Do not pass judgment, just observe and become aware. This “Pause and Observe” exercise can help ground you in the present so that you are not worrying about the future nor feeling shame for the past.
Become Your Best Friend:
If your best friend made some mistakes, wouldn’t you give him the benefit of the doubt, encourage him, support him, and focus on his good qualities? Treat yourself the same way. Find the good in your situation and in yourself. Focus on the positive. This is not to say that you should ignore what needs to be changed, but rather that you love yourself and accept yourself as you are, even as you strive to change.
To learn more about overcoming sex addiction using mindfulness and compassion, please contact Paradise Creek Recovery Center at (855) 442-1912.