Outpatient Treatment

finding happiness in any circumstance

Happiness may seem a difficult thing to find during the COVID-19 pandemic. While you are being told to stay home and maintain social distances from others, you may be struggling with how to achieve happiness within yourself. During Mental Health Month, it’s important to know that finding happiness in any circumstance is possible. A professor of psychology at Yale University, Laurie Santos, has examined the Science of Well-Being and offers a number of ways to help you find that elusive happiness, even during the coronavirus outbreak.

Going About It the Wrong Way

Professor Santos is a world expert on happiness. She developed a course, the Science of Well-Being, two years ago for overly stressed Yale students. Today it seems even more applicable, given the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. Santos says, “It’s well known that living through hard circumstances can make us happier because it teaches each of us to be grateful for so many things in life.”

Santos also believes that we can be happy when we are stuck at home during a virus pandemic. She says that happiness does not depend on circumstances and that we typically pursue happiness in the wrong way. While many people try to find constructive ways to spend their time while they are home, those are not necessarily “happiness-making practices.” Santos emphasizes that “with a little time and the right practices [as long as we have a roof over our head and our basic needs met], we can thrive in whatever situation we are in.”

The Secrets of Contentment

There are three basic habits of people who are capable of finding happiness in any circumstance:

  • Social connections: People who are happy think about other people more than they think about themselves and make the effort to reach out. They also tend to engage in random acts of kindness that are designed to benefit other people.
  • Gratitude, self-compassion, and being present: In academic studies, gratitude is consistently at the top of the list of things that make us truly happy. Along with gratitude, we need to practice not being too hard on ourselves and being present in the moment, limiting our regrets about the past and our worries about the future.
  • Healthy habits: Exercise, nutrition, meditation, and adequate sleep all play a part in healthy lifestyle habits that will contribute to our happiness even while we’re stuck at home during a pandemic.

Post-Traumatic Growth

The stress of the current situation can affect both our mental and our physical health. A condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop in people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event, such as the effects of the pandemic. Professor Santos says that although post-traumatic stress if often talked about, “there is also a lot of work on post-traumatic growth.”

She adds that, “Just like we have a physical immune system, there is evidence that we have a psychological immune system. When things get bad, we rationalise, we figure it out, we are actually a lot stronger and more resilient than we think. We learn better habits and come out better on the other side.”

The Science

Santos developed the course, the Science of Well-Being, to teach students that finding happiness in any circumstance is possible. The course, as well the podcast series called The Happiness Lab, are even more relevant to those who struggle with maintaining their mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. Santos says, “If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be scientific about the interventions we take in life. People don’t want platitudes, they want evidence-based ways to protect not only their physical health, but their mental health too.”

The Science of Well-Being identifies the habits that we can work on during our time at home. Exercise, for example, is important for both physical and mental health and can be done in small, 20-minute sessions. Exercising can be simply dancing to an upbeat, happy toon, whether or not anyone is looking!

Getting the right amount of quality sleep also benefits us, mentally and physically. We can take steps to ensure a good night’s sleep, including not taking electronic devices to bed. Recognizing and recording our change of attitude and our gratitude can also help us develop a sense of happiness in our current circumstance.

Contact South Miami Recovery for Help During COVID-19

At South Miami Recovery, we address all facets of your addiction recovery, including your spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental health. During the pandemic, we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need, while staying safe and healthy. We continue to provide the outpatient addiction treatment services you need during these uncertain times. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. You can also call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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cope with triggers during a pandemic

Stress and anxiety are common reactions to a pandemic such as the coronavirus outbreak that we are currently experiencing. During Mental Health Month, it is timely to review some tips for coping. In particular, it is important to understand how to cope with triggers during a pandemic, to prevent a relapse and to stay safe and healthy throughout the outbreak.

Triggers During a Pandemic

Under normal circumstances, your triggers might involve contact with people or a visit to a location that reminds you of your previous substance use and addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that stress cues linked to the drug use (such as people, places, things, and moods), and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse. When you are staying at home and following social distancing guidelines, though, you may not have that same exposure.

During a pandemic, your triggers may be more related to loneliness or boredom. Your fear, stress, and anxiety may also be triggers for you as you remain isolated during the coronavirus outbreak. When you are not able to freely do the things you are used to doing every day, including accessing your addiction treatment program, these feelings can increase. You should take steps now to learn how to cope with triggers during a pandemic.

What Feeds Your Feelings

Dr. John Sharp, a board-certified psychiatrist on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, advises taking a breath and working toward separating out where your feelings are coming from, as a way to cope with the anxiety and fear that may be triggers for you. Dr. Sharp suggests:

  • Try saying this, for example: “Of course, I’m more concerned than (my roommate/my friend/my family), because I’m practiced at feeling anxious or helpless.”
  • The next step is to recognize that the percentage of feelings that stem from the past do not have to govern how you necessarily feel in the present. Try saying this out loud: “Well that was then, this is now.” A simple statement like this can actually open the door to some significant relief.
  • Gently remind yourself of this crucial separation, cleaving the past from the present. And kindly and reassuringly remind yourself that you have the resources — both internal and external — to manage your feelings and reactions in the now. This is crucially important.

Practical Ways to Cope

When loneliness or boredom become triggers for you, you can find constructive ways to cope with those feelings as well. These stress management strategies can also become practical ways for you to cope with triggers during a pandemic.

  • Be kind to yourself. Remember that you’re not alone in your struggles.
  • Maintain a routine. Even if you’re stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, school, meal, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
  • Take time out for activities you enjoy. Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a fun board or video game, make something—whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art.
  • Get out in nature, if possible. Sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Even a walk around your neighborhood, if it can be done safely, can make you feel better.
  • Find ways to exercise. Staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress, and manage your mood. Cycle, hike, or walk, maintaining your social distance from others.
  • Avoid self-medicating. Using alcohol or other substances to deal with the pandemic is not the answer. Focus on the progress you’ve made and on your continuing recovery efforts.
  • Take up a relaxation practice. When stressors throw your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can bring you back into a state of equilibrium.

Access Treatment via Telehealth

Stay connected with your addiction treatment and support groups. Continuing consistently with your program can help you cope with triggers during a pandemic. Behavioral therapies, in particular, can help you handle stressful situations and various triggers that might cause another relapse. Behavioral therapies can also enhance the effectiveness of treatment medications and help you remain in treatment longer.

South Miami Recovery Offers Telehealth Services During COVID-19

Continuing your addiction treatment during the pandemic can help you cope with triggers and prevent a relapse. South Miami Recovery offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need, while staying safe and healthy at home. We will continue to provide a wide array of outpatient addiction treatment services to those who need it most during these uncertain times. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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beat coronavirus concerns

As you continue to adjust to the restrictions and guidelines put in place in response to COVID-19, you may find that staying optimistic can be a challenge. However, there are a number of constructive and positive ways to beat coronavirus concerns. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone and that this situation will pass. It is also very important that you stay connected with your substance abuse treatment program so you can continue to look forward to a brighter future.

Focus on the Positive

The coronavirus outbreak is serious. You have to take precautions to ensure your own health and safety. There are ways to focus on the positive, though, even as you maintain a realistic picture of the overall situation. One very effective way to maintain a positive outlook is to start and end every day with a positive acknowledgement, either of something that you are thankful for or something you accomplished during the day. Take a few minutes each day to think positive thoughts of gratitude and achievement to help you stay optimistic.

Support Others

One way to feel better about yourself is to do something good for someone else. During the coronavirus outbreak, that could be as simple as supporting a locally owned restaurant by ordering a meal to bring home. You can also take the opportunity to reach out to others who may be alone and who could use a supportive word over the phone or video chat. Helping others turns your attention outward and gives you a constructive way to beat coronavirus concerns for yourself and for them.

Appreciate the Smaller Moments

You probably have extra time on your hands now. Take that time to appreciate the small things in your life that bring you joy. Focus on the smell of fresh coffee, listen to the songs of chirping birds, and enjoy the streaks of sunshine or the sounds of a rainstorm. When you take in each moment purposely, you give your brain a boost of serotonin, which is the “feel good” transmitter that will help elevate your mood and help you stay optimistic.

Stay Connected

Even in isolation, you are not alone. Use technology to connect with friends and family who are supportive and who are a positive influence on you, particularly when you are in substance abuse treatment. Pick up the phone and make a call or use a digital platform for video chats so you can see the faces of those you love (and they can see yours). Connecting with others and talking about the good things you are doing and the little things you are beginning to appreciate more will help you beat coronavirus concerns.

Limit News and Social Media

Although it is important to stay informed about the effects of COVID-19 and any restrictions you may be under in regard to staying home or social distancing, you should watch or listen to the news in limited amounts. Be sure to verify the source of your news as well. Many unproven theories and wild rumors are posted on social media. Use the news to learn about the current situation and use social media as a way to connect to friends and family, but then move on to more positive outlets for your time.

Tune in to Uplifting Entertainment

A funny movie or a happy song can do wonders to lift your mood and help you stay optimistic. Watch a music video and dance along since you know no one is watching. Check out streaming services for comedies that may be silly but that will make you laugh out loud. Pure enjoyment is a great way to beat coronavirus concerns!

Contact South Miami Recovery for Telehealth Services During COVID-19

You can continue your addiction treatment while staying safe and healthy at home. At South Miami Recovery, we understand your concerns and are still here for you. Our team looks forward to helping you beat coronavirus concerns as you focus on your recovery. We have identified proven, HIPAA-compliant platforms to host our telehealth sessions so you can securely get the treatment you need. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today.

We speak English and Spanish. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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Using Mindfulness to Fight Opioid Addiction

How often do you perform a task without thinking about what you’re doing? Everyone reverts to autopilot at some point in their day. They drive to work, eat their lunch or check their email, all while being distracted by a constant flow of random thoughts.

Distraction takes a toll on all of us. When we aren’t fully aware of what we’re doing or why we’re doing it, we open ourselves to unproductive days and destructive impulses. People with substance use disorders are particularly susceptible to thoughts and emotions that affect their self-control. That’s why addiction professionals have increasingly seen the value in using mindfulness to fight opioid addiction.

For those who have never practiced mindfulness, it can sound like a trite solution to a serious problem. However, the simplicity of mindfulness is perhaps its greatest strength. By being aware of how you feel and what you’re doing, you gain more control over your actions and open yourself up to a richer, more engaged life.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of awareness. When you are mindful of what you’re doing, you’re not distracted by a stream of thoughts about what you need to do at work or what someone said that offended you. You are present in the moment, focusing on whatever task you’re doing.

As a concept, mindfulness is simple. As a practice, it’s more challenging. Distraction looms around every corner in our daily lives. People are constantly bombarded by intrusive, unhelpful thoughts. Mobile devices send never-ending notifications. Social media platforms make sure we always have something to draw our attention.

Mindfulness is the opposite of distraction, and it is the perfect antidote to everyday enemies of focus. One can be mindful of the meal they’re preparing or the dishes they are washing. Instead of mindlessly doing these tasks, distracted by all those thoughts that typically demand our attention, a person is conscious of each action they perform, fully engaged in the task.

Why Mindfulness is a State Worth Striving For

Because you face so many distractions, you are often living anywhere but the present moment. You aren’t fully aware of what you’re doing or how you feel. When you aren’t engaged in the task in front of you, you become automated. Buddhists call this the “monkey mind,” the state of being restless, confused, distracted or uncontrolled.

For people struggling with addiction, their monkey minds are fraught with impulses, urges and unconscious behaviors, all of which make giving into the temptation of substance use more likely. With mindfulness, people learn to be aware of how they are feeling and why they feel that way. This helps identify impulses to engage in unhealthy behaviors and refrain from acting in ways that aren’t in your best interest.

How to Improve Mindfulness

You can improve mindfulness in several ways. One of the most common methods to cultivate mindfulness is meditation. Though meditation is a broad term encompassing many different practices, basic mindfulness meditation often includes focusing on the breath and allowing thoughts to come and go without judgment.

Breathing exercises, mental body scans and yoga can effectively improve a person’s ability to be present in the moment and less influenced by unhelpful thoughts. Mindfulness practices offer several health benefits, including alleviating stress, depression, chronic pain and destructive impulses.

Using Mindfulness to Fight Opioid Addiction

Researchers have found evidence that mindfulness-based interventions are valuable in addiction treatment. Though this field is still new and less studied than other forms of treatment, addiction professionals have reasons to be optimistic about using mindfulness to fight opioid addiction.

A recent study from researchers at Rutgers University found that mindfulness practices can improve self-awareness and self-control. Participants in the study found mindfulness reduced cravings for opiates and increased pleasure derived from people, places and things that often fail to engage people suffering from addictions.

Treating Addiction Requires a Holistic Approach

When mindfulness and meditation first became popular in the United States, westerners were skeptical of its value. However, in contrast to a host of other new age treatments that have been studied and dismissed by the scientific community, mindfulness has proved its worth in countless studies.

Addiction treatment professionals understand that confronting addiction requires more than just treating the physical symptoms of a substance use disorder. Effective treatment requires a multi-pronged approach that addresses someone’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

If You Want Help, Contact South Miami Recovery

At South Miami Recovery, we believe in the importance of treating the whole person. Each of our clients has their own unique needs and preferences. We work with everyone to find the right path, providing several tools to help them in their recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about our services, we encourage you to contact us today to speak to our staff. We speak English and Spanish. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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Benefits of outpatient addiction treatment

Everyone’s journey to a substance-free life is different. If you’ve been considering addiction treatment, then you have likely encountered an endless number of programs that require months of living at a treatment facility. These programs simply aren’t an option for many people who need help overcoming an addiction. You should know that there are other approaches to successful recovery programs. You’ll find many benefits of outpatient addiction treatment, and it’s likely that this approach might be more suitable for your situation.

Programs like the ones we offer at South Miami Recovery can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life. You meet people who are facing similar challenges and become part of a community of people seeking a better life for themselves. You also develop a specialized plan to help you stay on the path of recovery.

What is Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

In outpatient treatment, you stay at home rather than live on-site at a facility. You get to maintain your normal routine, while still learning the strategies you’ll need for a successful recovery. Not all substance use disorders require 24/7 supervision. Outpatient treatment still provides a comprehensive approach without the need for housing and without the expenses of inpatient options.

Outpatient Treatment Provides Your Life with Structure

In outpatient treatment, you have a set number of hours per week during which you will receive care and support. These sessions are invaluable because they equip you with the tools that you’ll need to live a substance-free life.

A critical part of every recovery plan is consistency and structure. One of the primary benefits of outpatient addiction treatment is establishing a routine, which serves as a foundation for a successful recovery program. Frequent treatment sessions give you the opportunity to talk about your challenges and find a framework to address common problems.

You Maintain the Ability to Work, Go to School and Contribute to Your Community

Many people struggling with a substance use disorder don’t have the option of a months-long inpatient treatment program. They have jobs that won’t allow significant time away from work. They might have classes to attend or families that depend on them.

The ability to meet your daily obligations is left intact in an outpatient treatment program. This is one of the main benefits of outpatient addiction treatment; you won’t need to worry about sacrificing the most important things in your life to begin the recovery process.

Accountability is Built into the Plan

You will be accountable to your program because you will regularly attend scheduled sessions. Though you might initially feel like you are accountable to your treatment facility, you eventually realize that holding yourself accountable is the goal of any successful addiction treatment program.

When your program includes housing and 24/7 oversight, you are always insulated from temptations and triggers. Though those programs are valuable for some people with addictions, developing the skill of balancing your daily life while also staying accountable to your recovery program cultivates a practical approach to a sustainable, sober-free life.

Outpatient Treatment is More Affordable Than Other Treatment Options

Recovery requires investment – physically, emotionally and financially. Though everyone must devote themselves physically and mentally to the process, not everyone is prepared to take a major financial hit to start living substance-free. One of the many benefits of outpatient addiction treatment is you don’t have to invest a substantial portion of your savings to live a better life.

You Have More Privacy in Your Personal Life

Outpatient treatment allows you to maintain as much privacy as you want in your personal life. You won’t need to explain being absent for several months to your acquaintances or coworkers. No one should be ashamed of overcoming their addiction, and there’s no need to hide your involvement in a recovery program. However, choosing who to tell and when to tell them is your decision. In outpatient treatment, you retain your privacy for as long as you want it.

If You or a Loved One Needs Help, Contact South Miami Recovery

At South Miami Recovery, we believe in removing the obstacles people face when seeking substance abuse treatment. Recovery isn’t easy, and too many people believe that getting help can present even more challenges to an already challenging process. The good news is that treatment is available for anyone who wants to change.

Living substance-free is the only way to break the grip of addiction, and recovery is the most rewarding journey imaginable. South Miami Recovery knows that effective treatment means meeting all the needs of our clients. We address all facets of our clients’ lives, including their mental, physical and spiritual health.

We understand that each of our clients has their own needs and challenges. Our staff designs a plan that is customized specifically for their benefit. Contact our bilingual staff to learn more about our outpatient treatment programs by calling 305.661.0055.

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