Early recovery, and recovery in general let’s be honest, can sometimes feel like swinging between unedited, pulsing emotion and overthinking things to the point of inaction, analysing everything within an inch of its life.
What if there was something in the middle of this pendulous swing?
This is where I learned about Wise Mind. This is a space where we can find the middle of the Venn diagram, both reacting to the emotions rising within us – often sending us powerful messages – and putting those emotions in the context of the things we can observe as total fact.
Holding the reasonable, rational, somewhat detached response in the same place as the intense and subjective reaction can find the middle way where all sides of yourself are seen. I have intense triggers around abandonment, something I feel deeply physically and prompt me to want to act out upon them immediately. I can honour that, and also think objectively, checking the facts and perhaps modifying the behaviour I was going to fly into without thinking. This is Wise Mind.
Wise Mind usually knows best, and the more we practise it the more it aligns with the voice of calm we are all capable of, or the intuition we have ignored throughout our drinking careers. It taps into our deep wisdom of ourselves, and can lead to actions that best make way for contentment, peace, and not setting your ex’s house on fire.
When I am feeling big-feelings-I-would-love-a-drink-for, Wise Mind comes in handy – and a lot of the time I can access it with some conscious breathing, dipping into my body and trying to calm it in any way I can.
Breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of four is a good way to centre the mind and body. If you need to slow your heart down, then breathing in for four and out for six can slow the body’s panic responses.
Another technique I learned was breathing in and out to this rhythm imagining my unhelpful, harmful thoughts being placed in leaves, and floating away down a gentle current. The visualisation helps, and is a good distraction. If I’m not feeling particularly visual I simply breathe in and out repeating the terms “wise” and “mind.” Solely focusing on those two words is centring. When the furious, unhelpful, panicked thoughts return, I turn and face the reaction they want me to engage with, and simply ask: “is this Wise Mind?”
Do you ignore your gut feelings? How do you feel about your intuition? If you are confused about something right now write out what Emotion mind says, and what Reasonable mind says, and see if there’s a Wise Mind somewhere in the middle.
Two tiny things:
- Explore some meditations online, if there’s one you fancy trying maybe carve out some time for it.
- Do one thing to your living area to make it more comfortable. Whether it is getting a new blanket or pillow, or moving aside that coffee table you’re always stubbing your toe on.