Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for People in Recovery
Very often, addiction is the result of using drugs and alcohol as a means of escape. People turn to substances to escape all kinds of pain that they don’t know how to deal with -mental, emotional, and physical. Healing addiction then becomes a matter of helping people learn healthier more effective ways to cope with stress, trauma, and anything else they’ve been trying desperately not to feel.
With the right treatment and a lot of loving support, people can begin to open themselves up to exploring their inner world and move towards, instead of away from, the thoughts and feelings that haunt them. By bringing awareness to these inner struggles, we can begin to actually heal them instead of continually avoiding them by getting high.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is one tool that many people in recovery find helpful. Mindfulness involves the practice of bringing awareness to things and accepting them as they are. Essentially it is the opposite of avoidance.
Mindfulness meditation is a meditation style focusing on cultivating more awareness and learning how to remain calm and stay present with thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Effective mindfulness meditation can be done anywhere and does not require any fancy accompaniments. The only thing you need to bring to meditation is yourself!
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Research has shown that meditation can reduce the risk of relapse and produce positive changes in parts of the brain responsible for memory, mood, attention, and anxiety. Mindfulness has been known to:
- Reduce stress
- Decrease negative feelings
- Promote emotional regulation
- Increase focus
- Provide cognitive clarity
- Improve working memory
- Increase the body’s ability to fight off disease by creating a stronger immune response
How Mindfulness Meditation Benefits People in Recovery
Mindfulness Meditation has been used for centuries to train the brain into thinking more clearly and calmly. It may seem counterintuitive that facing your inner demons can make you feel better, but this is precisely the goal of mindfulness.
It turns out that trying to run away from feelings we don’t want to feel creates a vicious cycle that only results in more pain and suffering. Facing our fears and resolving our inner struggles allows us to become truly free from the cycle of addictive behavior. The calmer thinking that results from practicing mindfulness meditation leads to better focus and productivity and a more positive outlook.
Meditation can be instrumental in helping you achieve and sustain success in recovery. It can enhance your recovery in many ways, including:
- Mindfulness prevents avoidance – Often, people use substances to escape or numb painful feelings, intrusive thoughts, or flashbacks from traumatic life events. While this may work temporarily, it can quickly spiral into addiction, making using drugs and alcohol increasingly challenging to avoid. When you practice mindfulness, you train yourself to accept and embrace your thoughts and feelings and redirect them to the present moment. In time, you will learn that unpleasant emotions are only temporary, and learning to be less reactive to thoughts and feelings will help you control your behavior.
- Mindfulness promotes relaxation – Being able to manage stress in a healthy way can reduce cravings and anxiety that may trigger a relapse. Using mindfulness to relax allows you to sit and intentionally listen to your body and mind.
- Mindfulness decreases depressive symptoms – More than half of those who receive treatment for substance use disorder have a dual diagnosis of an underlying mental health issue, with depression and anxiety being the most common.
3 Easy Mindfulness Exercises to Get You Started
Like any good habit, mindfulness takes some practice and repeated exposure to become second nature. Here are some easy techniques to help you learn to meditate:
- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – This exercise hones in on focusing on the present while utilizing all of your senses. To start, identify five things you see, then move on to four things you can touch, next identify three things you hear, two things you can smell, and finally one thing you can taste.
- Tai Chi or yoga – For many people, moving meditations like tai chi and yoga can be easier ways to begin cultivating mindfulness than sitting meditation.
- Walking meditation: Paying close attention to the simple process of walking can serve as a form of mindfulness meditation. You simply take notice of how your arms swing, how your feet touch the earth when you take a step, how your breath flows in and out with each step, and so on.
Holistic Addiction Treatment at The Source
At The Source Addiction Treatment Center, we pride ourselves on providing compassionate, holistic care to our clients. We believe recovery comes from working through trauma by utilizing various traditional and leading-edge treatment modalities to ensure success. We’ve created a treatment center where you’ll find a non-judgmental and loving environment in which you can feel safe to work through some of life’s greatest struggles. Our experienced treatment specialists are available 24/7 to help you begin your journey to a life full of happiness and potential. Contact us today to learn how mindfulness and mediation can support your recovery journey.