Addictions might appear utterly complex, but having a comprehensive treatment plan that includes rehabilitation programs can help to hasten the recovery process. Most rehabilitation programs often utilize meditation for treating addiction, accompanied by other traditional and evidence-based treatments like individual therapy and group sessions. Hence, meditation provides additional support to addicts during their recovery process. This mind and body practice can help increase the benefits of medical and traditional therapies when they are used together.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is generally referred to as a safe exercise that focuses on the connection between the mind and body with the main aim of inducing relaxation.
Meditation may vary and can be done in various forms which include; focusing on a combination of breath inhaling and exhaling, an idea or word while sitting up or lying down. This process helps you focus on your mindfulness, awareness of various present feelings and your physical sensations.
Individuals recovering from addiction may continuously feel that they have lost touch of how their minds and bodies feel since addictions are known to numb and disconnect the affected patient from their mind and body.
Various studies and research have pointed out the effect of meditation and yoga on not just the body’s natural reaction to stressful and other life-threatening situations, but also how effective they are in addiction treatment and recovery.
How Meditation Works
Meditation is an effective procedure as it rewires the critical pathways in the brain. Research suggests that people who meditate for 30 minutes daily have experienced record functional increase in most parts of the brain, which has also resulted in a substantial effect on their learning process, self-awareness, memory, and introspection. By changing how this process works, recovering addicts can correctly evaluate their everyday situations and react more appropriately without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Generally, meditation helps to focus on several things. An addict can easily use it to calm their nerves when they are extremely stressed or anxious. In doing so, it reduces the negative feelings that often compel drug addicts to reach out for substance. Individuals may also use meditation to connect with a higher authority, usually through prayers or mantras and this connection to a higher power has also helped several drug addicts hasten their recovery process.
How to Practice Meditation in Addiction Treatment
There are various forms of meditation that a recovering addict can practice. These practices are quite useful in pulling the mind away from thoughts that may distract or lead to anxiety. However, while all forms of meditation may be effective in slowing down an overactive mind, it is advised that you find one style that resonates with you in particular.
There are various forms of meditation to choose from, that can enhance your recovery during addiction treatment. Some of them include:
These involve moving through a series of poses that are designed to increase your strength, flexibility and breathing. These poses can improve your self-confidence and well-being, while breathing techniques can promote relaxation that relieves you from frustrations, stress and other negative feelings.
These are usually taught in yoga classes. They involve gazing meditations that encourage you to keep your eyes open and fixed on a given object; these objects may be either an image or something like a candle.
This form of meditation involves focusing on each part of your body and the sensory information from the environment while you move. It is best for addicts that need a more active form for addiction recovery.
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the experience of the present moment rather than the past or future. This type is regarded as the most traditional form of meditation. It is usually done while sitting in a relaxed pose, specifically in a peaceful setting.
The main focus here is to relax the mind while allowing thoughts and feelings to flow freely without any form of judgment.
During this process, you are expected to focus on your exhalations and inhalations, while keeping your attention on your breath. It is often the easiest, as an addict can do these on their own anytime and day
Mantra is a simple word or phrase that is repeated. This word or phrase is usually repeated to oneself. Since the human mind is hectic, specifically for people who are accustomed to incredibly stressed lifestyles, the process can help lessen the stress. Nevertheless, it is essential to find the best mantra that can help you achieve clarity and stillness.
Primordial Sound Meditation
In this form of meditation, addicts are encouraged to sit with their eyes closed, while their attention is focused on a sound to pull their minds away from their thoughts and quiet their minds.
Relaxation meditation is an important form of guided meditation that increases an individual’s focus on a given area of the body. By focusing on these specific parts of the body, they become incredibly aware of their own body and experience increased relaxation.
Most people take this type of meditation for granted. Learning to be mindful while eating is important for people who struggle with weight problems, and those who have a proven record of using food to try to wave the stresses of addiction.
These above-listed meditations can be grouped into the three common elements listed below
- Present-moment awareness: focusing on the present while completely shutting down the past or future.
- Non-judgment: involves focusing on the present moment without judgment towards others or yourself.
- Relaxed focus: allows addicts to relax their conscious mind while allowing the entire body to relax and decrease stress.
Meditation for Addiction Treatment
One essential, exciting thing about meditation is the fact that addicts can decide to choose the methods that best fit their person or lifestyle. Nevertheless, below are the most commonly used meditation methods for addiction treatment.
- Mindfulness meditation
- Meditative exercise
This is a type of meditation in which individuals examine their feelings, experiences, and thoughts in a non-judgmental way. Since addiction may usually involve acting on impulses, mindfulness meditation allows addicts to discuss their beliefs and urges, while they carefully consider how to react to them.
This involves combining meditation with physical motion. During this process, you can likely move through a series of poses that are designed to improve your breath control and strength. The postures are known to improve the addict’s physical well being as well.
Benefits of Meditation in Addiction Treatment
Regardless of the addiction treatment that may have been adopted to free an addict from drugs or alcohol addiction, chances are that this ongoing treatment program will most likely include meditation.
Generally, addiction is known to affect an addict spiritually, mentally, and most times physically. Hence, the need for meditation as it goes a long way to ensure quick recovery for the affected person.
There are various benefits of meditation. However, we will explore the two primary benefits before diving further to some other benefits.
Basically, most rehabilitation programs often include meditation as part of addiction treatment because of the following benefits:
- It’s easy to do at any time: this is one of the most commendable aspects of using meditation for addiction treatment. Since stress is one of the elements that trigger relapse amongst addicts, most meditative techniques can be done almost whenever and wherever stress is felt, they can be used to reduce the body’s response to stress either at home or at the workplace. With this, the affected people are less likely to feel the tension and strain that are known to trigger them to drink or abuse substances.
- It’s easy to learn: any addict can quickly learn different meditative techniques that can help to relax his or her mind while choosing the best method that resonates to the affected person. This learning process can be done in a rehab, religious gathering, wellness centre or counselling session.
Other essential benefits of meditation in addiction treatment:
Physical benefits: meditation comes with various physical benefits, some of which include;
- Reduced blood pressure
- Increased energy level,
- Increased serotonin production that helps in the improvement of mood and behavior
Psychological benefits: Another benefit of the practice is its psychological effect on recovering addicts. It can help to increase calmness, improve emotional ability, increase individual peace of mind while offering relaxation to the affected person
Spiritual benefits: it also carries great spiritual benefits by enhancing an addict’s state of mind, creativity, and happiness. Through this process, the affected person can heighten their consciousness as well as their transformations.
A lot of people dismiss the impact of meditation in addiction treatment and recovery, thinking it is a fluffy new age practice, but then, the science behind this process is entirely real. Through meditation, an addict can slowly but surely learn to be more at the moment while carefully examining their thoughts and actions.
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