Meditation for Addiction Recovery
Holistic therapy, meditation for addiction, is becoming a more integral part of addiction recovery. Using guided meditation for addiction recovery builds a mind-body connection that promotes calmness and improves well-being.
At Harmony Place, we incorporate meditation immediately after a person enters addiction treatment. Whether a person is detoxing or well into recovery, meditation for addiction has endless benefits.
What is Meditation?
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health describes meditation as a mind-body activity intended to:
- promote calm and relaxation
- help people cope with illness
- Improve well-being
Meditation for addiction recovery is simple yet powerful. It has many benefits, including relieving anxiety and stress. A meditation session can last a few minutes to an hour or longer. The goal is to balance the mind and body to improve overall health and quality of life by focusing on breathing or mantra chanting.
What are the Elements of Recovery Meditation?
A variety of meditations include different features to help a person meditate. The most common elements of recovery meditation include:
- Focusing attention – The most important aspect of meditation for addiction is focus. Focus is what helps free the mind of distractions. Ways to focus your attention include focusing on an object, image, mantra, or breathing.
- Deep breathing – Deep breathing involves steady deep breaths that use the diaphragm to expand the lungs. Using the diaphragm instead of the shoulders or chest muscles when breathing makes the breaths more productive.
- Quiet setting – In the beginning, it may be easier to meditate in a quiet setting without any distractions such as electronics. As time goes on and you become more skilled, you will develop the ability to meditate in stressful situations when meditation is most beneficial.
- Comfortable position – There isn’t a right or wrong way to meditate. Some people prefer to sit or lay down, while others prefer to take a walk or clean the house. As long as you are comfortable, you will benefit from the meditation session.
- Open mind – It can be challenging to let thoughts pass without judgment at the beginning of recovery. But, with daily practice and an open mind, meditation can retrain your thoughts and promote lifelong recovery.
Types of Meditation for Addiction Recovery
Characteristics of meditation for addiction include sitting in the lotus pose (sitting cross-legged) and slow, deep breathing. Meditation, like yoga, reduces anxiety, depression, and emotional triggers.
Addiction treatment centers offer various forms of meditation. This is because, like other therapies, meditation isn’t one size fits all. Additionally, each type of meditation provides unique benefits.
Types of recovery meditations include:
- Mindfulness meditation – the most popular form of meditation for addiction recovery. It increases focus, concentration, and awareness.
- Zen meditation – focus on bringing calm and encourages non-reactivity, focuses on the present moment
- Guided meditation for addiction – focuses on visualizing peaceful mental images through guided meditations
- Transcendental meditation – involves a silent mantra, teaches effortlessness as a way to reduce stress and achieve peace
What are the Benefits of Recovery Meditation?
Recovery meditation offers benefits such as combating withdrawal, cravings, and triggers. In addition, the benefits of recovery meditation include:
- Reducing anxiety and depression
- Reducing stress
- Increases concentration
- Improving mood
- Increasing creativity
- Improving attention
- Reducing brain activity
- Reducing PTSD and ADHD symptoms
- Improving emotion stability
- Decreasing insomnia
- Reducing Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)
- Reducing the risk of relapse
Another benefit of meditation for addiction recovery is altering brainwaves to improve mental health. Also, practicing mindfulness that improves the performance of the frontal cortex, which is responsible for thinking and planning.
Is There a Connection Between Meditation and Rebuilding Endorphines?
Another benefit of meditation in addiction treatment is the dopamine release it provides. Dopamine is often called the “feel good” chemical in the brain. Because drugs and alcohol cause a rush of dopamine to be released, it causes the brain to gradually stop creating dopamine naturally.
However, a John F. Kennedy study shows meditation for addiction produces a 65 percent increase in dopamine. Furthermore, meditations such as guided meditations for addiction promote recovery by filling a void, decreasing unhealthy thoughts, and improving anxiety. Thus, meditation for addiction treatment is great both physically and mentally for a person.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of being present in the moment. This means being aware of how you feel and think without passing judgment. While mindfulness is beneficial in daily life, it is a great tool for addiction recovery.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol can lead to unhealthy and negative thoughts. While in recovery, these thoughts can be dangerous and lead to relapse. Mindfulness in recovery allows these thoughts to be acknowledged without judgment and released without causing harm.
How Does Mindfulness Help In Addiction Recovery?
The brain is the only organ that can be trained through learning. During addiction, the brain is trained to work against us. However, mindfulness can reverse the damage to the brain.
Over time, mindfulness can rebuild neural pathways. Furthermore, combining mindfulness and meditation can increase the thickness of the brain’s cortex. This improves cognitive function, attention, and sensory processing.
Practicing mindfulness in recovery can also increase brain connections, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. At the same time, mindfulness and meditation for addiction recovery can positively affect thoughts, feelings, and responses to the world around you.
How Does Meditation for Addiction Recovery Improve Focus and Awareness?
Recovery meditation allows a person to find a moment of peace. Addiction creates a mind of chaos as the brain’s only focus is drugs or alcohol.
In early recovery, cravings can make meditation challenging. But, breathing exercises and guided meditations for addiction can help bring awareness to the moment.
Combining meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can reinforce focusing on one’s behavior. It also teaches people to accept what is, find perspective with the past, and set healthy, beneficial intentions for lasting recovery.
What is Breathing Meditation for Addiction?
Breathing meditation is just as it sounds. It is the art of bringing your attention to your breath and how your body is feeling. Inhaling deeply and exhaling fully encourages a full exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide.
Most humans go through their day without fully utilizing their diaphragm. This can trigger stress responses. However, you can slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure by deep breathing. Breathing meditation also elicits a relaxation response that balances the mind and body.
What is Guided Meditation for Addiction Recovery?
Guided meditation for addiction involves an instructor who guides the journey. The instructor’s goal is to help a person build an image in his or her mind, such as the beach.
However, once the image is in the mind, the instructor steps back and lets the patient continue from there. Such a practice stops the instructor from planting ideas in the patient’s mind, allowing the patient to create positive experiences.
What is Mantra Meditation?
In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, mantra meditation is prominent. Mantra meditation for recovery clears the mind by using repetitive sounds. Although it can be any sound, “Om” is a popular mantra.
By repeating a mantra over and over, it allows the mind to relax. When a person relaxes, he or she can tune into the environment and focus on deepening awareness. This type of meditation is beneficial for those beginning treatment as it helps with concentration which can ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
How Can Moving Meditation Benefit Addiction Recovery?
Moving meditation is a shift of consciousness or meditative state while doing simple movements. This type of meditation can calm the mind and create awareness. While meditation is often associated with lying or sitting while focusing on your breath, moving can also help with contemplation.
Some people struggle to sit still, especially in early recovery. For this reason, moving meditation can be helpful. Besides yoga, types of moving meditations include:
- Tai Chi
Walking in nature is an excellent way to clear the mind, especially for those who find peace in action.
How Does Meditation for Addiction Recovery Help with Withdrawal?
Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol brings on a variety of symptoms, such as insomnia and depression. Recovery meditation can help a person feel grounded and calm. Calm people improve their sleep quality and enable better moods.
Some people struggling with addiction suffer from thought imbalances such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Meditation helps a person observe obsessive thoughts without becoming attached. This allows a person to regain control over his or her impulses.
Can Meditation for Addiction Recovery Prevent Relapse?
Meditation is a priceless tool when it comes to relapse prevention. It promotes self-awareness which can help you recognize your triggers. Meditation also helps monitor emotions and the sensations in your body, helping you listen to your needs.
Building self-awareness helps people stay on track with their recovery. When facing triggers, meditation skills can help people pause, identify their thoughts and feelings, change their thoughts, and cope with emotions in a healthy manner.
Meditation for Addiction Recovery at Harmony Place
At Harmony Place, our addiction treatment programs focus on healing the mind, body, and soul. Our holistic approach to recovery incorporates various therapies to promote lasting recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we are waiting to help. Contact us today and start your journey to a happier and healthier life.