Millions of people turn to meditation each year. In fact, 18 million adults in the United States each year practice some form of meditation, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Meditation has certainly been shown to provide many benefits, including reduction of cortisol (stress) levels, reduced anxiety and symptoms of depression, increased awareness, improved emotional balance and sense of enjoyment, strengthened relapse prevention, and promotion of healthy choices, all of which contribute to living a happier, healthier life. If you’re considering practicing meditation, you can expect to develop a new perspective on life. Your thoughts may not necessary be healed, however, and you don’t want to have unrealistic expectations going in.
It truly depends on what you mean by “healing” your thoughts – if you’re hoping that meditation will make distressing thoughts go away, this won’t happen. Rather, many more thoughts may come in – it’s just the response that you have to these thoughts that will change over time. Meditation is based on the principle that we can’t stop our thoughts, but by acknowledging their existence, we can watch our thoughts much like an observer would – doing this, in turn, lessens the intensity of effects these thoughts may have had on us before.
A 2016 review conducted by researchers from Utah, North Carolina and South Carolina emphasized that meditation can facilitate positive behavior change by changing the way a person thinks about and reacts to their thoughts. There are many types of meditation practices that you can engage in, depending on what works best for you:
- Guided meditation – often in person or by listening to a CD, a person guides you through meditation by telling you what to focus on or think about. This is very useful if you’re new to meditation or have a busy mind that makes it difficult for you to focus on your own.
- Body relaxation scans – this is another form of meditation that can be beneficial if you need something particular to focus on other than the breath; body relaxation starts at your toes and involves tensing and relaxation each part of the body as you end up at the top of your head.
- Nature walks – by walking slowly, you can feel more grounded and connected with the world.
If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center about meditation and other holistic practices that could be incorporated into your addiction recovery treatment program.
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.