What Is Meditation For Addiction Recovery?
Meditation is a generally simple, safe yet powerful exercise that focuses on the mind-body connection with the goal of inducing relaxation and serenity. It has been shown to improve physical and mental health, including reducing stress and anxiety. The overall goal of meditation for addiction recovery is to synchronize the mind and body for improved mental wellbeing and an enhanced quality of life. By taking deep breaths, chanting a mantra (or another focused word), and focusing on the breath, the result is increased awareness and connection. Today, drug rehab facilities even use meditation for addiction recovery.
Meditation for addiction recovery or mindfulness training is a promising intervention option for addiction and relapse prevention. This is according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) , The state of mindfulness is cultivated during mindfulness practice and is characterized by a non-judgmental, non-reactive, present-centered attention and metacognitive awareness of cognition, emotion, sensation, and perception.
A National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) -funded study showed that a mindful awareness training program is associated with improved outcomes for women seeking treatment for substance use disorders. The women in the study were taught skills related to identification and perception of internal signals, which are designed to promote self-care and regulation of emotions. The investigators are from the University of Washington and the University of Utah.
Best Meditation Techniques To Fight Addiction
Mindfulness Meditation For Addiction Recovery
- Though this method is one of the easiest, it’s still very effective. The goal is to strengthen your awareness and observe your sensations and thoughts, to do the things people struggling with addiction often don’t do.
Sit Up Straight
- Your head, neck, and spine should be in one line. Put your hands where they are comfortable (if you’ve tried stretching or yoga, you may feel comfortable in the old cross-legged posture).
Close Your Eyes
- Sit still, calm, and quiet. Allow your sensations and thoughts to wander in and out of the body without labeling them as bad or good.
- You can open your eyes if you want. But you should direct them a few feet in front of the body, fixing your gaze on a fixed object on the ground.
- If you stop focusing on your thoughts and focus on your breath or some object, you are doing everything right. Now you can proceed to the next technique.
Breathing Meditation For Addiction Recovery
The goal of breathing meditation is to calm the mind and develop inner peace.
It’s simple to practice:
- Sit in the same position as for the first technique and close your eyes
- Concentrate on your breath. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly
- Relax the muscles. Take the energy your brain spends on thinking about your cravings and divert it toward your body
- Pay careful attention to breathing. Feel how air is coming in and out through your nostrils
- If some thoughts start to distract you, return to your breathing
Water Meditation For Addiction Recovery
This technique isn’t normally covered in outpatient rehab programs. But you should try it at home. It is an effective way to deal with the burden of your old drug-related thoughts.
Make sure you have enough time and start:
- Run a warm bath
- It is a good idea to mix it with aromatherapy, and light aroma candles or add bath salts or oils
- Turn off the tap but allow for small drips of warm water to continue dripping into the tub.
- Plant yourself in the bath in a comfortable body position
- Focus on breathing as described in the above technique
- If your mind gets distracted, return the focus to the sound of the dripping water
Moving Meditation For Addiction Recovery
- People usually meditate while sitting still. But the Buddha himself recommended meditating while moving. This technique is aimed at immersing in the world of nature, which implies an absence of thought and a sense of unity with nature. Here’s how to practice it:
- Find a perfect place for this technique: a garden, forest, lake, river, or other natural surroundings near your house.
- You can walk, run, or ride a bicycle. The emphasis is not on your motion, but a state of mind. If you choose walking or running, keep your focus on your feet hitting the ground. If you are cycling, focus on your feet pushing the pedals.
- With every step you take, imagine how negative energy is leaving and positive energy takes up vacant space.
- Pay attention to the processes in your body – the contraction and relaxation of the muscles, the air coming in and out, the blood coursing through your veins.
- The length of a meditation session depends on the time you need to feel fulfillment. Usually, 10-15 minutes is enough.
3 Tips For Meditating
1. Don’t Force It
Meditation for addiction recovery is something that cannot be forced. It is not a challenge that can be muscled through and then dropped once you have been given the reward. It is quite the opposite; meditation is about letting go of that “action reward” mindset and being aware of the journey, the process. This process-oriented thinking is hard to accomplish because it is not how our society functions. Developing a meditation practice takes time, patience, and practice with yourself.
While it is not all about the prize, one advantage of learning a process-oriented mindset is that it can also be used in the addiction recovery process. Concentrating only on the “reward” of sobriety might keep you from taking the time to deal with any emotional trauma that might have contributed to your addiction. Viewing recovery as a process helps you understand that it’s never over, that it needs attention to all areas of your health.
2. It Is Not Going To Be A Waste of Time
Even if after completing a thirty-minute meditation, you do not feel more self-aware or in control of your addiction. The time spent listening to the guide was not a waste. Taking thirty minutes out of your day to deeply breathe, check-in with yourself, and rest and relax is very helpful to your physical health. Even if you do not feel immediate emotional healing, your body will be thankful.
3. The Toughest Part Is The Beginning
Knowing that these mental benefits take time and patience can make mindfulness feel like a task, but dwelling on that will simply make the entire process less successful. The hardest part about meditation is choosing to set aside some time to work on yourself simply for the process, and not because of the reward.
Benefits Of Meditation For Addiction Recovery
Individuals who follow mindfulness meditation focus entirely on the present. Being able to focus on what’s here and now is called mindfulness. When doing meditation for drug recovery, practitioners concentrate their attention on their breathing, various parts of the body, or particular phrases or words.
Meditation can give a person in recovery with diverse psychological and physical benefits, such as:
Decreased Blood Pressure
- Studies suggest meditating can lower the blood pressure of those at risk for hypertension.
Reduction In Depressive Symptoms
- Some evidence suggests improvement of depression in those practicing meditation.
Immune System Improvement
- A mindful meditation program may improve immune system functioning.
- Research suggests meditation may enhance sleep in insomniacs.
- Meditation can reduce mental pain ratings in practicing individuals.
- Meditative methods can help individuals control anxiety.
- Meditation can provide small to moderate improvements in stress levels.
- Gyrification is the forming of folds on the cerebral cortex in the brain. This can promote information processing, enhance decision-making, and improve memory formation.
- Decreased or reversed age-related changes in the brain.
- Decreased gray matter in the amygdala, which plays a role in anxiety and stress.
Find The Right Treatment For Secondary Co-occurring Addiction
Taking a holistic approach to primary mental health and secondary addiction treatment is part of our program, ensuring clients are comfortable and surrounded by activities and amenities, leading to improved recovery. We know treatment is best shaped through therapies for the mind, body, and spirit in conjunction with behavioral programs and medication, as needed.
If you or someone you love is struggling with co-occurring alcohol or drug addiction, get them the safest help they need and deserve. Treatment for secondary behavioral disorders is provided through meditation for addiction recovery.