Descriptions of meditation techniques have been found dating back to around 3,000 years ago. Rooted in ancient India, meditation has become more mainstream in the United States than ever before. Meditation is considered a practice in which a person focuses on a particular object, thought, or activity in order to achieve a calming mental and emotional state of clarity. Meditation has shown to help many people in addiction and mental illness recovery by changing pathways in the brain that are responsible for learning, memory, and self-regulatory processes. If you’ve been considering meditation as a complementary component to a reputable treatment program, the following are some (but not all – there’s many!) amazing benefits:
- Higher chance of preventing relapse
- Lower blood pressure
- Anxiety relief
- Improved immune system
- Better sleep
- Enhanced regulation of dopamine and serotonin
- Better decision-making capabilities with healthier coping mechanisms
A study conducted at Yale University found that long-term meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN) – the part of the brain responsible for all of those wandering thoughts that often get us into trouble. Since ruminating and worrying have been shown to make people less happy, meditation can help you get out of those phases quicker with more focus placed on what really matters – your recovery.
There are diverse types of meditation, but what’s most important is that you practice forms of meditation that truly speak to you. Don’t be afraid to try out many different forms to determine what works best; after all, you won’t know until you try! These meditation exercises are most common for addiction recovery:
- Breathing exercises – often closing the eyes and focusing on inhalation and exhalation
- Progressive muscle relaxation – bringing awareness to each part of your body and how it feels as you tighten and relax each muscle, typically starting at your toes and working your way up to your head
- Mantras – a word or phrase that helps you to channel empowerment and deep focus
- Guided meditation – a trained teacher guiding you through the process verbally
- Movement meditation – engaging in a physical activity such as slowly walking, yoga, hiking, etc. and being mindful of your body, steps and breath with each move you make
Try different forms of meditation to see what works best for you. Don’t give up if you don’t feel direct “results” right away. Meditation isn’t meant to provide direct results – it is through the cultivation of many practices that a person truly reaps the benefits.
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.