A Blog by Anouk Aerdts - Holistic manager at The Cabin Chiang Mai

When you are mindful, you are aware of what is happening around you and what is going on inside you. The purpose of mindfulness is to become aware, without making judgements.

Mindfulness may sound simple but it requires dedication to only focus on the present moment and not to dwell on other thoughts. All kinds of uninvited and sometimes unwelcome thoughts can enter your mind - worries, happy memories and other reflections about the past and the future. Exercises in mindfulness can be helpful in giving a focus to mindfulness, to train your mind in focusing.

Some people refer to mindfulness as ‘slowing things down’, not rushing from one activity (or moment) to another, or even one thought to another. By quieting down your mental chatter, you can achieve a sense of calmness. Some people describe it as a peaceful, tranquil state, or the kind of relaxed feeling that can be induced by alcohol or drugs.

Mindfulness at The Cabin in Chiang Mai

At The Cabin in Chiang Mai, mindfulness is introduced as a way to reduce stress and anxiety, make better decisions and as a coping mechanism for dealing with addiction cravings. Primary goals of the mindfulness programme at The Cabin are to:

  1. Develop awareness of personal triggers and reactions and learn ways to challenge your automatic process.
  2. Change your relationship to discomfort and learn to recognise new challenges.
  3. Foster a non-judgmental and compassionate approach towards yourselves and others.
  4. Formulate a balanced lifestyle that supports both mindfulness practice and recovery.

During group and one-on-one sessions at The Cabin, experienced practitioners guide you through meditation and mindfulness exercises in order to reduce stress, improve your physical health and introduce healthy coping strategies. This will not only help you to get the most out of the treatment, but provide tools you can use to move towards a future life of stability and sobriety.

After recognising your own feelings and emotions, mindfulness will help you understand your responses or reactions. During mindfulness practice, you might discover awareness about yourself and your inner stimulus or patterns that trigger you to drink, use drugs or engage in other addictive behaviours. These revelations can make it easier to respond differently to a triggering situation in future.

By knowing how your brain works and by understanding your reactions, you may find that you can often let things go that might have provoked you in the past.

Mindfulness Exercises

Most mindfulness exercises involve ‘observation’, a key word in mindfulness. Pay attention to what is going on around you. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? Give a non-judgemental description. Let go and accept things as they are rather than judging them. The most challenging part is to focus on one thing at a time and not get distracted by other thoughts.