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Meditation & Addiction Recovery: How One Helps the Other

Meditation offers numerous benefits for both your mental and spiritual health, while helping to heal the physical and spiritual damages of addiction. For this reason, many recovery programs and sober living homes include meditation as part of the recovery process and treatment.

There are many different methods you can try, depending on your preference. These include practicing meditation:

  • Alone or in a group
  • In silence or accompanied by ambient music/sounds
  • In a calm, quiet area or in the middle of daily life

Whatever method you choose, practicing meditation consistently helps you acquire its positive effects for your overall well-being.

Benefits of Meditation

There are numerous benefits of meditation that can improve different areas of your life, which in turn helps you progress in your addiction recovery.

Physical

Meditation can improve your physical well-being by lowering blood pressure, increasing serotonin production, and releasing pain from tension. Studies also show that meditation can increase your immune system and help with pain relief. Stress management also becomes easier and you will be able to sleep more soundly.

Mental/Psychological

Meditation has several mental and psychological benefits, including a decrease in anxiety and stress and an increase in overall calmness. Your ability to focus will likely become easier, and you will also see improvements in your emotional stability and peace of mind. By meditating consistently, you are sure to feel more relaxed.

Spiritual

The spiritual benefits of meditation include a heightened sense of awareness, an increase in open-mindedness, and more access to your creativity. Overall, this can leave you feeling happier and more connected to yourself.

How Meditation Helps Addiction Recovery

The benefits of meditation work together with many other aspects of recovery, including physical exercise, healthy eating, emotional regulation, rebuilding relationships, and more. By retraining your mind, you can find ways to calm yourself, set boundaries, and become more aware of your body and emotions.

According to neurological studies, meditation and other mindfulness activities influence the amygdala, the part in the center of the brain that regulates emotions. Meditation relaxes the amygdala, causing the central nervous system to counteract the anxiety response by lowering your heart rate, slowing your breathing, and stopping cortisol and adrenaline production.

Meditation can help you detach your mind from urges and cravings, ultimately helping to prevent relapse. Some exercises you can do to help with addiction recovery include:

  • Breathing: Focus on your inhales and exhales.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Become more aware of every part of your body as you relax your muscles from head to toe.
  • Mantra-based: Repeat a word, sound, or phrase to keep your mind from wandering during meditation.
  • Guided: A trained teacher will guide your meditation verbally online or in-person.
  • Movement meditation: Meditate while engaging in physical movements such as walking, hiking, surfing, or yoga. Be aware of each body part as it moves.

How to Start Meditating

Meditation can be a daunting task at the beginning. Taking the proper steps to calm your mind and begin the process can help ease any anxiety. This way, you can begin proper meditation exercises to aid you in recovery.

First off, make sure you are comfortable and prepared to sit still for a few minutes. Begin by focusing on your breath. Where do you feel your breathing most, in your belly or your nose? Focus on the breath for two minutes. As you breathe, take deep breaths to feel your belly expand and contract as you breathe in and out.

Each time you have a meditation session, try to gradually increase the time. Take notice if your mind wanders during each session. Analyze how good you feel while being centered with yourself.

Other Mindfulness Activities

If meditation isn’t your thing, there are other mindfulness activities to try in your journey to recovery.

Yawn & Stretch

Once per hour, yawn very slowly while stretching your arms up. Pay attention to how you feel both mentally and physically at that moment. After the yawn, sit in place for at least 20 seconds to take in everything around you, then return to what you were doing before.

Three Hugs, Three Breaths

Hug another person tight and take three deep breaths together. This can make you feel more connected to another human being while also helping to ground you.

Stroke Your Hands

Close your eyes, then take the index finger of your right hand and slowly move it vertically on the outside of the fingers on your left hand. Once you finish your left hand, switch hands, and repeat the process.

Mindfully Eating

Taking a raisin or piece of chocolate, eat it slowly. Focus on each aspect of it, noticing how it tastes and feels in your mouth. Savor it and smile in between bites. Take notice of it by seeing it, touching it, smelling it, tasting it, and sensing it. Let the taste linger and swallow. Smile and repeat until you are done eating.

STOP

  • Stand up and breathe: Feel your connection with the planet around you.
  • Tune into your body: Become aware of your body and emotions. Breathe out any negativity, and inhale positivity.
  • Observe: Lift up your eyes and examine your surroundings. Focus on something beautiful, expressing gratitude for its beauty.
  • Possibility: Ask yourself what is possible, new, or a progressive step forward.

Meditation has numerous benefits, both for your overall well-being and recovery. Take this opportunity now to become more at peace with yourself.

Many recovered addicts can attest to the benefits of meditation in recovery. That is why Camelback Recovery makes meditation a part of the healing process. Our sober living homes and recovery programs can help you achieve long-term sobriety. To learn more, call us today at (602) 466-9880.