Browsing Tag


Letting Go of Anxious Thoughts

By Jennifer McDougall

It’s one thing to have a thought or two about this or that, but it’s a whole other ballgame when you find yourself anxiously thinking and dwelling on all the possibilities or worries you have running through your head. Trust me, it’s not uncommon to feel this way. It’s not uncommon to overthink things or worry about this or that, but that doesn’t make it healthy. At Passages, we are here to help you train your mind to let go of anxious thoughts so you can experience a more peaceful mindset.

You may find yourself sitting there at a traffic light going over everything you did or said. You may be there lying in bed at night going over every anxious little wonder you have in your busy mind. We have all been there at some point where we can’t seem to just chill and let go of all the anxiety clouding up our mind. It could be stress over a job, relationship, risky decision, or a worry you have about the coming day. It’s understandable. Life can be stressful at times and things may feel a bit overwhelming, but there is a way to release that tense energy and settle your thoughts so you can think more clearly and get a better night’s sleep.

Here are 10 simple ways to start practicing letting go of all those anxious thoughts.

  1. Remind yourself that no matter what, every little things gonna be alright.
  2. Take 3 deep breathes. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Feel yourself letting go of all your stresses and all your worries; no matter how big or small they are.
  3. Get on a healthy workout routine to release endorphins and burn off built up tension.
  4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day so you remain hydrated. This is crucial to your overall wellbeing. Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
  5. Write it down. Journal your thoughts and experiences in a notebook. Keep it by your bed, in your purse, backpack—wherever is most accessible to you throughout the day so whenever an anxious thought comes to mind you can write it down and get it off your chest.
  6. Talk to a professional therapist. Friends are great to lean on and vent to, but sometimes we need a professional’s unbiased take on specific situations we are experiencing.
  7. Once a week do something you’ve never done before. Go hike a trail you’ve never been on. Explore a place you’ve never been. Try something challenging such as surfing, golfing, or public speaking to get you out of your comfort zone. Afterwards you will feel rewarded and have a sense of accomplishment.
  8. Pick up that book sitting on your bookshelf that’s been staring you in the face for longer than you’d like to admit. Pick it up and start reading. We also encourage you to visit our wellness store for a collection of self-help books that will change your life.
  9. Meditation is great way to relieve anxiety. We recommend you invest 30 minutes per day to meditate away your worries.
  10. Make a gratitude list of even the most simplest things in life you are grateful for.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Image via We Heart It

How to Practice Mindfulness

By Jennifer McDougall


Being mindful means to be aware and accepting of the present moment, your experiences, and sensations. It’s this therapeutic practice that helps ease your mind and body of anxiety, tension, cravings, and emotions. After eight weeks of practicing and training your mind and body to be mindful, studies have shown a great deal of improvement in the immune system; making it easier to fight off illness. This practice has also proven to increase positive emotions while reducing stress and negative emotions such as depression and cravings for addictive substances. Mindfulness has many other benefits such as, improving memory, empathy, focus, enhances relationships, and improves sleep patterns.

You do not have to be still or act as a statue to be mindful. It is simply living your life moment by moment. It helps to pay close attention to your breathing, especially when energy and emotions are intense or begin to increase. To best recognize when these emotions or energy begins to rise, you must remain aware—moment by moment. Remaining present in each and every moment means being completely conscious and not altering that consciousness with polluted substances, such as drugs or alcohol.

To achieve ultimate mindfulness, meditation is highly recommended.

Mindfulness Techniques

  • Basic Mindfulness Meditation – Paying close attention to the present experience moment by moment
  • Urge Surfing – A tool to stay focused from all distractions causing an impulse of desire for addictive substances. Without feeding it, repressing it, or fighting it let the be just that—an urge. Let it come, then set it free.
  • Body Sensations – Being aware of vibrations, temperature, pressure, lightness and heaviness, hardness and softness, itching, numbness, tingling, and all other sensations perceived within the body
  • Sensory – Be aware of sounds, sights, smells, flavors, or touches
  • Emotions – To feel physical expression completely

Benefits of Mindfulness:

  • Helps relieve stress
  • Improves focus and mental clarity
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Helps treat heart disease
  • Improves sleep
  • Break free from addiction and anxiety
  • Mend broken relationships
  • Helps end self-destructive thoughts and behaviors
  • Overcome obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Helps to be more engaged in activities
  • Form deeper connections with others
  • Less worry about the future or past regret
  • Heal from painful emotions or past trauma
  • Less concern about self-esteem, ego, or success
  • Expands the capacity to deal with unfavorable events

How to Practice Mindful Meditation:

  • Allow 10-15 minutes of quiet time away from your computer, cell phone, or any other outside distractions
  • Find a comfortable place to sit in the quietness of your home or office
  • Do no operate heavy machinery or drive while attempting to meditate or while listening to a guided meditation
  • Start with a guided meditation
  • Breathe slow, deep, and steady
  • Observe your inner thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judging any of them as they come and go (just be one with the flow)
  • Meditating can be challenging in the beginning, but if you stay with it you will soon come to experience the many benefits
  • Practice Mindful Meditation once a day if not more

Aside from meditating, mindfulness should be practiced throughout the day—moment by moment. It is an awareness you will soon become accustom to that will help you in more ways than one. Below are several meditations you can try today and throughout the week.

Purchase a copy of Meditation on The Perfect You

Urge Surfing Mindful Meditation:

Basic Mindfulness Meditation:

Healing Meditation Music:


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Image via Pixabay

20 Ways to Create a Healthy and Sober Lifestyle

By Jennifer McDougall

If you are someone who just completed treatment and are looking to get back home and resituated into the comfort of your own surroundings you may be wondering what to do when you get there. First off, it’s important for friends and family to know that you are sober now and ready to focus on creating a lifestyle that reflects your good choices and healthy habits. If you are lucky, they will be supportive.

In some cases, family and friends have pushed back and said things like, “No you don’t need to eliminate certain things entirely. You just need to learn to use in moderation.” If you are someone who has a track record of addiction and abuse this may not be the best advice for you to hear.

You must feel comfortable and confident with your choices. They are only yours to make and when the influence of other people weighs in too deep it’s easy to get sidetracked. Don’t let this happen. Know who your true friends are and lean on those who support your choices to better yourself. This is the best possible way for people to respect you and your new lifestyle.

When you get back home, try to avoid all the people, places, and things that would encourage drug or alcohol use before you went into treatment. Remind yourself that this is a new path you are walking down and the only time you need to look back is to see how far you have come.  Here are a few ideas to keep yourself on course:

  1. Go to bed (9-10pm) and wake up early (6-7am).
  2. Sign up for a local gym and attend 3-4 times a week.
  3. Take weekly lessons for a sport you enjoy.
  4. Fill your bookshelf with new reading material.
  5. Stock up on delicious and non-processed food and beverage items (no sodas).
  6. Plan your meals each week without overdoing it.
  7. Attend local events (art shows, sporting events, live music).
  8. Travel to places you’ve never been before.
  9. Buy an assortment of herbal teas.
  10. Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  11. Distance yourself from toxic people who make you feel less than amazing.
  12. Pick up a new hobby such as photography, drawing, reading, writing, golf, tennis, or basketball.
  13. Utilize a daily planner and to-do lists to make the most of your day.
  14. Spend time outdoors and in the sun to get vitamin D and fresh air.
  15. Keep track of your goals and aspirations.
  16. Learn new skills to better your career.
  17. Spend quality one on one time with those you love and who make you laugh.
  18. Let go of regrets from the past.
  19. Maintain stable relationships.
  20. Keep a level head and learn patience when necessary so that anxiety does not get the best of you.

Creating a productive routine for yourself will help broaden your perspective on life and what you are capable of achieving. The best way to create this routine is by practicing a set of tasks every day that makes you feel good about yourself and ensure absolute peace of mind. Crossing things off your list as you go and doing your best not to procrastinate on difficult tasks will help keep you motivated.

When you spend 30-45 minutes at the gym 3-4 times a week will not only help transform your body and release anxiety and tension, it will help you focus at work, at home, and on yourself. Exercise is essential to getting and staying healthy.

For other sober lifestyle tips, please read our other articles on the Passages Blog site and share them with friends, family, and co-workers. You are not alone in your journey to get and stay sober.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Follow Passages Malibu on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Image via Pixabay

5 Types of Meditation Practices

By Jennifer McDougall

Our day-to-day lives are often times very busy, and our minds become extremely scattered if we do not take the time to relax and let go of our worries and stress. All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes in a quiet place to ease tension and achieve a sense of peacefulness and mental clarity. Meditation is the key to balancing your mind, body, and spirit. Below are 5 types of meditations you can begin doing today.

Before you get started, find a quiet place in your home, your backyard, or even under a shady tree in your favorite park. Sit in a comfortable seated position – it can be a simple, crossed-leg style, half lotus, or full lotus. Rest your hands on your knees either palms facing up if you’re looking to receive energy or palms facing down if you’re looking to be more grounded. Some practice with their fingers in the “gian mudra” position where your index fingers and thumbs touch to make an O shape. Do what feels comfortable for you.

1. Focused Meditation:

Calm your thoughts and focus on one thing. Eyes may be open or closed.

2. Mindfulness Meditation:

Attention on abdomen when breathing and/or on the awareness of your breath.

3. Body Scan Meditation:

Take three deep breaths. Close your eyes. Start from the top and slowly (mentally) scan down your body, and notice pain and tension at each point you reach. Be aware of what you feel and let the pain and tension dissolve as you continue downward through your body.

4. Mantra Meditation:

A mantra is a sacred sound, syllable, or groups of words that are repeated several times during mediation that have psychological and spiritual power.

5. Chakra Meditation:

Chakras are energy points that are centrally located in the subtle body. During this type of meditation you will focus on one chakra at a time. This also includes incorporating a bit of mantra meditation into the mix.


Check out Chris Prentiss’ “Meditation on the Perfect You” for a powerful, guided meditation that will help you transform into the person you have always dreamed to be.


Image via We Heart It

Confidence Boosting Visualization Techniques

Visualization can be a powerful tool for boosting self confidence. So often, we allow negative beliefs to permeate our thought life, robbing us of creativity, confidence and a sense of competence. Recover a mindset of grounded, inspired and positive thinking by using these easy visualization techniques to bolster confidence and foster a sense of self.

Confidence Boosting Visualization Techniques

  • Paint Your Picture of Success
    Anytime that you begin to feel your belief in yourself wavering, simply begin to visualize the success you’re aiming for. Close your eyes and ask yourself, what would it look like if I succeeded? Picture your wardrobe, facial expressions, and even hairstyle. Envision how your mornings will begin, what you will eat for breakfast, and what you would do on the weekends. No detail is too small to envision. Having a detailed visual image of your success will enable you to not only motivate yourself, but to believe in the reachability of your goals and dreams.
  • Capture Your Magic Moments
    A quick visualization to use when you feel your self-confidence plummet is to simply pluck a strong memory of success from the past. Think of a time in your life—whether for a moment, an evening or a period of life—where you felt empowered, attractive, successful and at peace. Visualize the scene from your past, envisioning yourself full of self-confidence, persuasiveness, charisma and competence. Remember how it felt to be proud of your accomplishments, and to trust yourself. Spend time remembering each detail of the memory and recite an affirmation to yourself as you do. In a pinch, simply restate your affirmation and you’ll be able to conjure up this positive proof of your capability and worth.
  • Find Roots and Heavenly Inspiration
    Envision your feet planted firmly on the ground, unwavering. Relax your muscles in sets, moving from your toes to your neck. As you do, picture a color that you find strengthening and calming as an energy running through your body and veins, haloing above your head and reaching upward through the galaxy until it attaches to a star. Envision your feet planted firmly on the ground, with roots extending downwards through the earth till they attach at its core. Combine the mental images to picture yourself as connected to heavenly lifeflow and purpose, while firmly rooted and grounded in your sense of self.


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