Last-minute gift idea: Mindfulness

December 22, 2015
Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator, ATTC Network
Editor, NIATx

The holidays can be difficult for people in recovery and keeping the season stress-free for everyone can be tricky.  UW Health Psychologist Dr. Shilagh Mirgain  offers some great suggestions for reducing stress in this post from the UW Health E-Newsletter, Give the Gift of Mindfulness this Holiday.

Dr. Mirgain writes:
The gift of mindfulness can help us connect with our own inner light, to something larger than ourselves, outside the problems of the day. Consider giving a gift that helps them be more mindful and get into the present moment. A few ideas include:
  • Journal 
  • Relaxation CD
  • Meditation or yoga classes
  • Exercise classes
  • Supplies or lessons relatated to a hobby they would like to cultivate
  • Adult coloring books 
Adult coloring books? They abound this year in the bookstores. Adds Dr. Mirgain:
"Adult coloring books are trending now, for good reason. Art therapy has been shown to help people cope with physical and emotional distress. When it comes to coloring, the simple activity lets our brains relax and brings our attention to the present moment."
Dr. Mirgain also recommends meditation or yoga classes, and it turns out that mindfulness meditation can be an especially effective technique for overcoming cravings. A study conducted by Dr. Aleksandra Zgierska of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health found mindfulness meditation to be potentially useful in helping alcoholics maintain recovery. And a more recent study conducted by NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow suggested that mindfulness meditation can help people stop smoking.

SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices includes some mindfulness-based therapies, including Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Paolo de Vecchio, Director, Center for Mental Health Services, writes about them in a 2014 blog post, Living in the Now: Mindfulness in Behavioral Health.

If you're looking for mindfulness meditation CDs or downloadable MP3s to give as last-minute gifts, visit Guided Mindfulness Meditation Practices with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn has dedicated his career to brining mindfulness to our attention, starting with the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic that he founded in 1979.

And if you are headed to the mall for those last-minute gifts, pick up an adult coloring book and some crayons for yourself!

Do you have any other suggestions for last-minute gift ideas for people in recovery? 

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