When you reach out and get help for substance use, you might be focusing mostly on your physical well being. You probably want to feel good again. You most likely want to feel like you can function without having an intense desire to use drugs or alcohol. And certainly recovery can help you get physically well. But being healthy in recovery means more than physical health.
The same might also be true with recovery from a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. You likely want to feel well in your thoughts and feelings. You may be focusing on your emotional and psychological health. Yet, regardless of whether you’re recovering from a mental illness or from an addiction, eventually you might find that recovery not only means having a healthy mind and body but also:
Healthy relationships mean that you’re strengthening your ability to take responsibility for your emotions. Often, in recovery from addiction, there is frequent denial and blaming others. With this, relationships can suffer. But in recovery when you’re working on your relationships, you grow your ability to take emotional responsibility. Psychology Today paints a good picture of what a healthy relationship with others, whether romantic or not, should look like. Also, here are some traits that you cultivate as you get healthier in your recovery:
- express kindness, acceptance, and compassion
- express your affection (even if it’s through praising someone else)
- laugh and have fun with others
- enjoy time with another person as well as a part from them
- resolve conflict peacefully
- develop trust
- experience a connection with others
- healthy lifestyle
In general, having a healthy lifestyle means that you’re taking good care of yourself. You’re going to bed early enough so that you’re getting 8 hours of sleep each night. Having a healthy lifestyle might also mean exercising on a regular basis and taking a break when you feel stressed. A lifestyle of sobriety or emotional and psychological health is one that takes your well being into consideration. You’re doing all that you need to do in order to take good care of yourself.
Of course, a part of a healthy lifestyle is healthy eating. If you’ve suffered from a mental illness or from an addiction, you might have been prone to making poor food choices. Soda, sugar, junk food can in fact make negative thinking worse. It can also intensify certain emotions. When you’re eating well, you’re more likely to experience:
- mental clarity
- emotional stability
- greater ability to face triggers
- greater resiliency
- ability to curb cravings
- Healthy Communication
A big part of healthy relationships is having healthy communication. When you’re able to communicate your feelings in a healthy and mature way, you’re able to:
- express your emotions safely
- express your needs without fear of rejection
- be an engaged listener
- keep stress in check when you’re communicating with others
- manage your emotional reactions
- pay attention to your inner experience
- notice the nonverbal cues of others
Healthy relationships, lifestyle, eating, and communication are all a part of healthy living in recovery. Whether you’re recovering from an addiction or from a mental illness, all of these are important parts to sobriety and psychological health. Of course, it’s important to know that you’re not going to master these aspects of life. In fact, it may take your whole life to master these. However, as long as you’re striving toward this in your life, then you’re likely to see the results in your life and in your recovery.
If you feel like you’re needing more support, Connections in Recovery provides sober companions and mental health coaches that along with helping you or a loved one with recovery, they can assist you with healthier eating and exercising.