Giving up alcohol or drugs is likely to mean that you will have some free time on your hands. If you fail to find something productive to do with these extra hours then you are likely to end up feeling bored, which puts your sobriety at risk. A good option for how you can use at least some of this time is to start expanding your mind.
Your brain is constantly accumulating data, so it could be said that your mind will be expanding anyway. The problem is that a lot of this information is likely to be useless and, potentially, even harmful. It is common for those falling into addiction to have a tendency to focus on negative details, which they can then carry into recovery. Intentionally expanding your mind is all about filling your brain with useful and positive data as this can improve your life.
- Broadening your mind increases your opportunities in life
- many problems in life occur due to lack of good information
- expanding your mind can be a spiritual path
- it can help you develop life-changing insights into your own behaviour
- it can be a path to help you express your creativity
- most fear is fear of the unknown but you can become less fearful of the unknown by expanding your mind
- this type of activity can increase your sense of common humanity
- it can reduce bigotry and prejudice
- it can increase your self-esteem
- it can make you a more interesting person to be around
- it helps you make better decisions in life
- the journey of expanding your mind never ends, so it is a something that you are unlikely to ever get bored with.
Many misunderstand and assume that expanding one’s mind is just about learning as much as possible. Gaining new information is certainly part of the process, but if you focus too much on accumulating knowledge then it can lead to imbalance in your life. Below are just a few ideas on how you can expand your mind; it is best to use a selection of approaches:
- Start reading every day, even if it is only for a few minutes – if you are really stuck for time then you could try some audio books. The benefit of reading is that it allows you to explore the thoughts of others, which broadens your horizons.
- You do not always have to be looking outside to expand your mind; some of the most important insights you will uncover occur by looking inwards. There are many different types of meditation, but a good practice to start with is mindfulness. This teaches you how to look at your thoughts less subjectively and, by doing this, you can become less controlled by the thoughts that appear in your mind.
- Keep a daily journal in which you write down your experiences and observations. You do not have to ever show this document to anyone else, so you need not have to worry about things such as spelling and grammar. If you do want to share your thoughts with the world, you could do this by turning your journal into an online blog.
- Art and music is another excellent way to start expanding your mind. Art allows you to express your creativity, and it can open up parts of your mind that you never knew existed – this can also be a particularly relaxing hobby. Music is good for increasing your sensitivity, and it can be a nice way to express your feelings.
- Learning a new language is one of the most effective things you can do to expand your mind. It opens the door to a completely new world of ideas, allowing you to see things in a new way – this is because by learning a new language, you will usually have to learn about a new culture as well. There is also evidence that learning a new language slows down the aging process in the brain.