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Building Your Toolbox: Mental Wellness Tools Every Person in Recovery Needs


Woman in counseling

Although each person experiences different trials and tribulations, addiction and mental illness recovery are most often centered around helping clients develop their own “toolbox” – also known as resources that one can use during times of crisis or to maintain a healthy mental state. Too often, addiction occurs due to attempts to self-medicate painful feelings that we are trying to suppress; other times, the people around us have shown us a path of addiction because they simply do not know any other way. Recovery is a lifelong process that involves ups and downs, twists and turns, and sometimes unexpected events – making the use of a “mental health toolbox” that much more important.

In order for you to find what tools will work best for you, you must be open to trying different things with a drive and perseverance. A 2015 discussion piece (page 123) written by a psychiatrist in Boston explains that self-determination in important in recovery, with 5 main factors of recovery facilitating this aspect: access to information and treatment options, support from trusted others, exposure to role models and/or mentors who have gone through similar experiences, willingness to try different treatment strategies, and opportunities to be engaged in meaningful work. As you open your heart and mind to tools that could really resonate with you, you may find the following (and more) as part of your toolbox:

  • Certain people, places, or things that give you feelings of peace, happiness, safety, and stability
  • Holistic practices such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and more to ease your mind when chaos ensues
  • Specific songs that uplift and inspire you when you’re feeling sad, depressed, angry, guilty, etc.
  • Cognitive tools such as mental visualization or imagery, restructuring negative and unhelpful thoughts, using logic and reasoning, and more.
  • Engaging in relaxing hobbies when stressed such as taking a hot bath, reading an enjoyable book, spending time with a beloved pet, etc.
  • Volunteering with organizations to help provide a sense of meaning, purpose, and goodwill in the world
  • Medication taken as prescribed by a licensed physician to help reduce and/or manage unwanted symptoms that could cause much distress

Many reputable treatment centers work with clients initially to help them develop a sort of “map” or “plan” for their recovery and what outcomes they’d like to achieve. If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to get started on your recovery and to begin building up the tools in your recovery toolbox today.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.