ING Activities In Addiction Recovery

ING activities are any task, activity or hobby that ends in ing, for example running, cycling, painting, walking, exercising, travelling, flying and others. They’re vital in addiction recovery if we’re going to gain the most from our recovery efforts and put us on a healthy, positive road that’s sustainable, but just as importantly, ENJOYABLE!

Recovery that feels like a chore won’t be sustainable for the long run so ensuring that you fill your days or free time with as many ING activities as you can, either alone or with the friends, family and recovery pals as possible will put you ahead of the race when it comes to succeeding for the long haul, and just as vitally, helps us to prevent situations where lapses or relapses could occur. The UK is a nation of animal lovers, and walking our pets and spending time with them also has positive benefits in recovery.

The Power Of Laugh…ing

Laughter is probably one of the most underappreciated tools available to those in all stages of recovery, but especially those who’re in early recovery. This physical reaction has proven medicinal effects, and there is a great deal of truth to the old saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Below are just five reasons why you might want to make laughter a key part of your daily routine in recovery.

1. Laughter Eases Anxiety

If you are prone to feeling anxious or currently detoxing from drugs and/or alcohol, it could mean that your body is in a state of high alert much of the time. This is because anxiety triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response within our central nervous system.

Chronic anxiety can suck all of the joy out of recovery and can lead you to consider whether abstinence/recovery is either achievable or sustainable, which it is if you have decent tools in your recovery toolbox and have professional support behind you along with others who’re also going through, or gone through the same thing such as those in NA, AA or CA. Being stressed out and anxious is bad for your physical and mental health. Laughter has a positive effect on your body, moving you away from the fight or flight state. It also has an effect on a part of the brain known as the amygdala, which plays a role in determining mood.

2. Laughter Means You’re Taking Life Less Seriously

If you are in early recovery, there will be a lot of serious work you need to do to build a solid foundation in your abstinence/sobriety. Taking this work seriously is important, but you don’t want to take yourself too seriously all of the time. If you do, it just uses up too much of your energy and means you will not be able to enjoy this new life as much as you should. This may mean that you’re less likely to be in a position where you’re able to sustain your recovery for the long run if it’s all work and no play as the old saying goes!

When you’re laughing, you’re not taking yourself too seriously; the more you do this, the better it’s going to be for you. Don’t get us wrong, making the decision to leave substance use behind is a serious thing and shouldn’t be underestimated, however if you go into it with a mindset that is fixed, rigid and repetitive without including time for fun, socialising, hobbies or interests, it’s less likely to be sustained and it will become a chore that’s boring, dull and may lead to a relapse rather than seeing it as a positive change that’s enjoyable, beneficial and healthy for you.

3. Laughing Eases Symptoms Of Depression & Eases Diagnosed Mental Health Conditions

There’s plenty of scientific evidence to support the fact that laughter eases the symptoms of depression, it’s especially helpful whilst withdrawing in the early stages of your recovery. It works because it encourages a positive state of mind and changes the chemistry of your brain by producing more of the “feel good” chemicals whilst at the same time, gets rid of the stress and anxiety causing chemicals. As already mentioned above, laughter also moves your body out of the ‘fight or flight’ response, and this will lessen the symptoms and severity of depression, anxiety, and eases negative symptoms associated with other mental health conditions as well such as borderline personality disorder.

4. Laughter Is A Fantastic Stress Buster

Laughter is one of the best stress busters you can find, it’s the simplest to use, it’s free and accessible at any time of the day or night. Stress puts your body into a state of high alertness, but laughter moves you out of this state into one that’s more relaxed and positive. You’ll also find that after an episode of laughter, your problems feel far less threatening and provides a position where you can identify triggers or situations where you might be tempted to use or drink again. If you do end up using or drinking, don’t punish yourself, instead use it as an opportunity to learn from the mistakes you’ve made and how you can avoid them in the future. Stress has the habit of causing you to make mountains out of molehills but laughter does the opposite.

5. Laughter Lifts Up Your Mood

If you have ever been to a 12-step meeting, you’ll probably have heard the advice to “fake it to make it”. What they mean is that even if you don’t feel in a particularly good mood, you can trick yourself into being more positive just by laughing. This simple tool can be effective even on your darkest day – for example, ‘gallows humour’ refers to how people can use laughter to make things easier even when the situation appears hopeless. Using positive affirmations in your daily life can also increase your mood. Try to use funny ones which make you laugh as these will often become the ones you turn to first of all when you try to think of one.

What Is Laughter Therapy?

Laughter therapy refers to various techniques that can be used to help you benefit from the power of laughter. If you have seen the movie Patch Adams starring Robin Williams, you can see one powerful example of how this works – in this film he dressed up as a clown to make terminally Ill child patients laugh in their hospital ward. Basically, anything that can make you laugh can be viewed as being part of this therapy. This can include things such as watching your favourite comedy shows or listening to jokes.

Remember, you can’t be sad or anxious at the same time you’re actively laughing, so the more you laugh, the less negative emotions can take centre stage in your life!

Dave Richens, Lead Psychotherapist at Thinking Therapies

Top 40 List Of “Ing” Activities You Could Try Out Yourself

  1. Go running
  2. Go walking
  3. Go hiking
  4. Go camping
  5. Go backpacking
  6. Go caving
  7. Go mountain climbing
  8. Go circus act training
  9. Go skiing
  10. Go snowboarding
  11. Go ice skating
  12. Go rollerblading
  13. Go painting or drawing
  14. Go roller skating
  15. Go cooking
  16. Go biking
  17. Go mountain biking
  18. Go sunbathing (be careful in the heat)
  19. Go surfing
  20. Go swimming
  21. Go sailing or motor boating
  22. Go kayaking
  23. Go paddleboarding
  24. Go fishing
  25. Go scuba diving
  26. Go horseback riding
  27. Go bowling
  28. Go dancing
  29. Go bathing or showering in hot water or cold water
  30. Go volunteering
  31. Go shopping
  32. Go hunting or shooting
  33. Go bargain/car boot sale hunting
  34. Go flat or house hunting
  35. Go job hunting
  36. Go apple/berry picking
  37. Go praying to god or a higher power
  38. Go travelling
  39. Go fantasy gaming
  40. Go skydiving

Top 5 Tips

  1. Involve Family, Friends & Recovery Buddies In Your Activities. Socialising with others whilst doing something that everyone enjoys not only boosts your enjoyment, but also helps others to gain the same benefits as you as well!
  2. Do Them On A Regular Basis. The more often you do them, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of life, but also they’ll become positive habits that reinforce your recovery when tougher times present themselves.
  3. Sometimes, The Cheaper The Activity, The More Fun & Enjoyable They Can Be. It doesn’t always need to cost money in order to gain the maximum benefit out of ING activities. For example, going for a walk and a talk along a beach, through a forest, or even activities like journaling can provide more benefits than an average day out at an expensive theme park or trip away somewhere, although they can also be enjoyed to!
  4. Get Creative. Painting, drawing, model making, photography/photo printing or dancing to list just a few from the list above can also benefit you. The satisfaction you can get from seeing your hard work rewarded afterwards can provide a positive high to replace the negative highs we sought from drugs and alcohol. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before or are an expert in that particular task or activity. Just have a go, experiment, try new things and just enjoy yourself. You never know what new talents or skills you could discover hiding inside you!
  5. Consider volunteering Or Giving Back To Others Using Skills Or Abilities You’ve Gained Previously. Once you’ve been settled in your recovery for some time, and you feel relatively stable and secure, consider volunteering some of your time to help others who are now where you were previously, struggling with their abstinence and recovery. If you have talents, experience, qualifications or abilities, consider donating some of your time to help others develop those same skills or abilities in order to benefit their recovery efforts as well. For example, if you’re a great artist and can paint or draw, maybe teach others the basics by running a beginners painting or art group to help them express their feelings and emotions, and learn other coping strategies or distraction techniques when times get tough for them. If you’re a qualified yoga teacher, maybe you could hold regular yoga/meditating classes to teach others in order to benefit their recovery. This will not only help them, but help you in return!

Want More Like This!?…

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  • Suicide: One Of Addiction’s Many Associated Risks
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  • The Scale Of The Alcohol Problem In The UK
    Statistics like this show the real scale of the problem the UK faces when it comes to alcohol abuse and addiction.
  • Substance Use In Households
    Growing up in a household where parents or siblings use, abuse, misuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol means an increased risk of our children also developing a drug and alcohol addiction in the future. The only way to break this cycle is to seek help today from our sister site Thinking Therapies orContinue reading “Substance Use In Households”
  • Should IV Illicit Drug Users Be Offered PICC Lines Or Venous Access Devices
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Published by Drink ’n’ Drugs

Providing useful, relevant, up to date information and support for those suffering from active addiction or those who are in recovery.

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