Recovering from addiction is not easy under any circumstance. One of the most efficient ways for an addict to fully recover is to get to the root reason of the addiction. For some, the reason for their substance abuse may be due to depression, fear, or anxiety. Others could have suffered a serious trauma in their early life that they never fully dealt with, and turned to substance to find relief. Some may even become addicted to drugs unintentionally after being prescribed pain medication after extensive medical treatment or surgery.
There can be endless reasons for addiction, but there are now also a lot of different treatment options to battle it. There are many avenues to help with addiction, and one method that has been used more and more often is guided meditation. This blog aims to educate on guided meditation and how it can help create an atmosphere of recovery.
What is Meditation?
According to professionals, meditation can be described as a period of relaxed contemplation, usually to achieve some benefit or goal such as increased spiritual awareness, relaxation, or intellectual fulfillment. While meditating, you are taking the time to become in-tune with yourself and your inner thoughts and feelings. You should be focusing on your breathing and keeping your body in a relaxed state of calmness.
Meditation can seem challenging for addicts, who generally tend to feel the need to distract themselves from their emotions rather than tune into them. Once you learn to sit still and confront your feelings, it will become easier and easier to control any negative urges and maintain your sobriety.
What About Guided Meditation?
The difference between mediation versus guided meditation is that when participating in guided meditation, you have an instructor: someone is leading you through the movements and the process, and is helping you gain a better understanding of how it works and exactly what to do.
Meditation can be intimidating for someone who hasn’t done it before: how do you properly focus on your breathing, which poses are most relaxing, how do you control your thoughts? Having an instructor can give those that are new a little more confidence, as everyone else around them is in the same learning situation as well.
In the Naam meditative practice, there are four main elements that help balance and heal the mind and body: Basic movement (asana), the powerful healing of breath (pranayama), chanting (mantra), and rhythmic movement. This is one example of changing your existence and way of thinking from the inside. Once you can focus on exactly what you’re feeling inside, you will be able to attribute these emotions to your actions. Once you can attribute your emotions to your actions, you can better identify why you do the things you do. This will help prevent any drug-related impulses.
How Does Guided Meditation Help Addiction Recovery?
Meditation helps the addiction recovery process in a variety of ways, such as serving as a form of anxiety relief and stress management. One of the main elements of meditation’s stress-relieving nature is the natural high it produces in those that practice.
In a study done by a Harvard neuroscientist, Dr. Sara Lazar showcased how those who meditate have a significant increase in overall activity, cortical thickness, and neutral density in their prefrontal cortexes. What does this mean in layman’s terms? It means that meditation helps stimulate the brain to produce a natural high, creating an atmosphere for the mind that does not need unnatural forms of stimulation to feel happy.
In fact, one of the key components of a high is the dopamine boost that our brains achieve during meditation. In a study done in 2002 at the John F. Kennedy Institute, it was found that those who meditate showed a boost of dopamine up to 65 percent. Simply put, meditation allows you to remove yourself from the thoughts and impulses that can lead to addictive cravings.
Other Emotional Factors
Other factors that guided meditation can aid with in addiction include depression, anger, and even conditions such as insomnia. Being forced to deal with these emotions can lead some people to substance abuse and addictive behavior. They believe that covering up the pain or not dealing with their feelings at all will be the solution to their problem, when really all it does is create a bad habit of addiction.
Another one of the benefits of meditation is that it works to alter your central nervous system and take you out of the “fight or flight” mode of existence. This means that your body will not be on the constant edge of responding to a situation by confronting it aggressively or running away from it completely.
Meditation relaxes you and melts away any stress and anxiety while positively affecting how we deal with triggering situations and emotions.
The Many Ways Meditation Works to Heal
There are many factors as to how meditation helps heal the mind and spirit. Meditation:
- Helps reduce symptoms of depression
- Decreases blood pressure
- Helps control anxiety
- Helps control pain and helps relieve withdrawal symptoms
- Enhances the immune system
- Provides an overall sense of peace and relaxation
Help is Available
Overcoming addiction and minimizing the chances of relapse can be difficult, but there are natural ways to overcome cravings that can be learned through mindful practices such as guided meditation and other self-fulfilling approaches. Any holistic approach is a great way for you to overcome substance abuse, and release yourself from the grip of addiction by truly wanting to stay sober. Once your mind is in a confident state of sobriety, the recovery journey becomes easier and easier.
Arizona Addiction Recovery Center offers several forms of mindful treatment including meditation and yoga therapies. If you or a loved one is struggling from addiction, we are available for assistance 24/7 and happy to help with and questions or concerns you may have. Call us today or visit one of our locations for more information on our programs and how we can help.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888-512-1705.
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