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For addicts, there is an internal battle going on within their body, mind, and spirit. Addiction is often a symptom unease with one’s self or what one is experiencing. Meditation for addiction is a tool that can help addicts explore this discomfort and work through it toward inner peace and leave behind the need for substance abuse.
Meditation for addiction has been shown to reduce the incidence of relapse for addicts in a number of research studies. This is why it’s a popular and successful treatment option for those who come to Tranquility Woods for addiction recovery. If you think our treatment approach and rehab center could be the right place for you or your loved one, get in touch with our team today. We’re here to help.
What is meditation?
You might think that you have to sit down on a pillow with your legs crossed in order to meditate, but meditation can be done lying down, sitting in a chair, or even sitting on a bus in traffic. It can be done anywhere. You also might think you’re supposed to clear your mind and avoid thoughts during meditation, but that’s not really the case either.
Meditation is simply a practice in which an individual trains the mind to a single focal point such as the breath or a word or a relaxing mental image to help promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, build energy, and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness.
Meditation can also help you become aware of the types of thoughts you’re having too. By reaching this point of single focus, individuals can analyze and uncover internal anger, fears, and hatreds to help find inner peace.
How meditation works
Meditation is more than just some weird thing that “hippies” do to feel good inside. Meditation actually rewires our brains by decreasing the gray matter in the brain that is associated with anxiety and stress, while at the same time, increasing the gray matter that’s linked with self-awareness, introspection, empathy, and learning. It has also been proven to increase levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone that’s often low in addicts or those with depressive disorders.
Meditation plays an active role in physically changing our brains and therefore changes how we think, feel, and behave. Meditation works to improve well-being, quality of life and helps us to think and feel in a more positive manner.
Tools for addiction recovery
Both Zen and Vipassana meditative traditions are useful techniques for mindful awareness and self-inquiry. This helps an individual to analyze the internal workings of their mind.
Mindful awareness can help an addict come to personal insights about their thought patterns and subsequent addictive behavior, as well as the source of their cravings. The practice of self-inquiry requires an honest truth of your own behavior and its impact on yourself and those around you. It forces you to take responsibility and these insights are major motivators for change.
Meditation can feel very uncomfortable at first. Addicts often use drugs and alcohol to escape from unpleasant feelings. Meditation forces you to sit with yourself and observe and experience your thoughts and feelings, as opposed to avoiding them. Through meditation, you develop a positive relationship with yourself and this offers an opportunity to improve one’s current condition.
Meditation is another ancient form of holistic healing therapy that can have great health benefits both mentally and physically. For more information on our addiction treatment center in Maryland, please call 410-442-6638 to speak with one of our staff members.
Recovery from addiction is a journey that lasts for life. During addiction treatment, individuals learn how to recognize stressful life factors and work on finding positive behaviors and coping methods to reduce stress and prevent relapse. One tool that has proven to be very helpful to those in recovery is practicing mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness allows individuals to maintain a moment-by-moment awareness of their thoughts and feelings. By doing so, individuals are able to live more in the moment instead of rehashing the past and/or fearing future. Practicing mindfulness can fit into every lifestyle and help individuals focus on simple self-assessment in everyday life to maintain a positive and healthy attitude.
Mindfulness is defined as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” It is a therapeutic technique that teaches individuals to live in the moment, taking stock of their body and their mind to become more self-aware. By remaining mindful of thoughts and feelings, including courage, fear, acceptance, desire, peace or worry, individuals can guide themselves along a positive path, rather than turning to the unhealthy behaviors they want to overcome. Mindfulness can be as simple as pausing for a moment to take stock of one’s feelings, requiring no special tools or significant time taken out of the day. This technique can be performed anytime and in any place, acting as a consistent guideline throughout everyday life.
There are several mindfulness methods that may be used to achieve self-awareness. At its most basic, mindfulness simply encourages individuals to focus on the moment they are in, rather than rehashing the past or fearing the future. Meditation is a common mindfulness method and is often integrated into the addiction treatment, as meditation can help the body and mind to relax for improved mental health and attitude. However, mindfulness can also be practiced in small moments—setting a “mindfulness alarm” on a cell phone or computer calendar also encourages individuals to stop their activities and take a moment to listen to their body and mind. Group meetings are another way to seek mindfulness on a regular basis, as well as promote peer support and encourage individuals to find effective solutions to stressors, worries, and other everyday challenges. Many of these mindfulness methods can be combined, providing overlap that accommodates changing daily activities and schedules for an integrated and easy way to remain aware of one’s body, mind, and surroundings.