Have you ever wondered if meditation could help addiction recovery? If so, you’re not alone. Countless people have turned to meditation as a way to overcome addiction and achieve lasting sobriety.
At ELEVATE Wellness Center, we believe that meditation can work because we see it help people all the time in our Health & Wellness Program in Pasadena, CA. For those who are trying to recover from addiction, meditation offers many potential benefits—not just for your mental health but also for your physical health too.
Below, you will find more information on what type of meditation works best for addiction recovery, tips on how to meditate effectively and some other great reasons why meditation may be a valuable tool in your addiction recovery arsenal.
What is Meditation?
So, what is meditation? Simply put, meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on a specific object, thought or activity. Then, let the focus shift and see what you are attached to. That way, you can let it go and heal. This technique can be done in several ways, including through prayer, mantra repetition or simply sitting in silence and observing your thoughts.
How Does Meditation Work?
Meditation therapy allows practitioners to feel at peace in the moment. With this approach, someone with trouble focusing on daily activities and craving substances can instead learn present moment awareness through the breath.
Through soothing meditation, an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness to transcend distraction. Additionally, it releases chemical helpers in the brain that helps an individual’s state of mind and well-being.
Meditation can also help you become more aware of the patterns that lead to substance abuse, making it easier to stop those impulses before they do any damage. You will also learn how to relax both your body and mind, something that can be very difficult to do when you are amid an addiction.
Types of Meditation
There are many different types of meditation, but the lotus pose, a posture where you assume a crossed-legged seated meditation, is generally used in all of them. You also practice deep, slow breathing when practicing. In a similar fashion to yoga, meditation changes brainwaves, which can help reduce feelings of anxiety, chronic stress, depression, anxiety and emotional triggers.
There are also several methods of meditation, and they all offer slightly different benefits. However, they all share the same basic goal: to focus the mind and achieve a state of inner peace. Here are four that are often used in the practice of meditation and addiction recovery.
- Mindfulness meditation: One of the more popular methods of meditation, this type is all about being in the present moment. When you practice mindfulness, you focus on your breath and the sensations that are happening in your body at the present moment. This can help you stay grounded in the now and resist cravings for drugs or alcohol.
- Guided meditation: With this form of meditation, you follow the lead of someone else who encourages you to visualize peaceful imagery. The guide will also indicate when you need to breathe in and out. It’s kind of like having your own personal guide through your meditative journey—which can be very helpful if anxiety makes it difficult for you to focus on your breathing.
- Transcendental meditation: In this meditation, practitioners recite a mantra—which is simply a word or phrase that has special meaning for you. The goal of TM is to help your mind reach deeper levels of consciousness—and it can be especially helpful in letting go of negative emotions like anger and fear. It also focuses on effortlessness, so you can reduce stress and achieve peace of mind.
- Zen meditation: This type of meditation is all about observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. When you practice Zen meditation, you simply sit in silence and allow yourself to experience whatever comes up—good or bad. This can be a great way to learn more about yourself and the thoughts that drive your addiction. It also focuses on the present, so you can work on clearing your past.
Benefits of Meditation for Addiction Recovery
Meditation alters brain chemicals in many ways, and a study by the John F. Kennedy Institute showed a 65% boost in the brains of participants when they meditated. And when meditation starts working its magic, numerous benefits are provided that can help in addiction recovery.
Some of these benefits include:
- Reduced cravings and strengthened ability to resist them.
- Increased resistance to temptation.
- Easier identification of addictive behavior patterns.
- Greater ability to relax and de-stress.
- Improved mental clarity and focus.
- Greater ability to concentrate.
- Reduced stress levels.
- Better sleep quality.
Tips for Meditating Effectively
If you’re hoping to use meditation as part of your addiction recovery plan, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t be afraid of your thoughts. Many people find that meditation is easier when they stop worrying about their own thinking process and just focus on the flow of their breathing instead. If you feel an obsessive thought coming on during the meditation, try not to get caught up in it. Just let it pass, and then bring your attention back to the present moment without judging yourself for falling into a distraction.
- Be patient with yourself. It’s easy to feel discouraged when you aren’t seeing immediate results from meditation or other addiction recovery methods—especially if you have been struggling with substance abuse for a long time. But remember that change takes time and be gentle with yourself as you work to implement new healthy habits into your life.
- Make it a daily routine. The best way to see results from meditation is to make it a regular part of your day. Try to find a time when you can sit down for at least a few minutes and dedicate it entirely to meditating.
- As you get more comfortable with the practice, you can gradually increase the time.
About Our Health & Wellness Program
ELEVATE Wellness offers a comprehensive Health & Wellness Program that can help you achieve and maintain your sobriety. We offer individualized counseling, group therapy and a variety of holistic healing modalities, including trauma-informed yoga, meditation, breathwork and more.
These practices are all designed to significantly decrease symptoms of anxiety, withdrawal, depression, stress, insomnia and risk of relapse, while significantly increasing focus, mood, concentration, flexibility and mental performance.
ELEVATE Wellness Offers Meditation for Recovery
If you are interested in using meditation for addiction recovery, be sure to consult with a therapist or counselor who can help you get started. With the right guidance, meditation can be an incredibly effective tool in your fight against addiction. Contact us today to learn more about how the professional and caring team at ELEVATE Wellness can help you get started on the path to wellness and recovery.