In terms of addiction recovery, meditation is often referred to as mindfulness. This state of self-awareness is beneficial to individuals in any addiction recovery program. People who meditate can often exercise greater control over thoughts and emotions and might be more equipped to monitor their thought processes.
Self-awareness plays a key role in cutting through the numbing effects of negative thinking, including anxiety, depression, anger, stress, and other emotions. In addition, as we develop an awareness of what we choose to allow into our lives, self-awareness can improve our physical health, leading to an improved quality of life.
Quality of Life
Although meditation has been shown to help in various ways outside addiction, it is only comparatively recently recognized as a legitimate treatment tool. Meditation can help people focus, relax, and heal; it even lowers blood pressure.
Additionally, addiction recovery is easier when the meditator focuses their attention on the positive aspects of their mind rather than dwelling on negative thoughts, concerns, shame, and self-loathing.
During meditation, we are encouraged to focus our attention, observing our own inner harmony. A calm state of mind helps control racing thoughts when we experience stress. When we are stressed, or emotionally triggered, our breathing may become erratic, making it more difficult to stop, think, and make positive choices.
Meditation In Therapy
Incorporating meditation practices into addiction therapy helps create the right environment to integrate and explore many of the mindfulness techniques we learn during intensive therapy sessions. Thought awareness or the conscious observation of our thinking patterns can only be developed when we slow down and replace negative thoughts with positive or constructive ones.
For example, the phrase, I am not used to sitting quietly and trying to empty my thoughts, can be replaced with, although this might feel strange at first, I am willing to discover how this might benefit me.
Taking the First Breath
Learning how to meditate starts with understanding the difference between meditation and relaxation. Relaxation is a state of mind, while meditation specifically emphasizes concentration and focus.
- Focus the breath
- Relax the muscles
- Breathe deeply
- Visualize a clear and relaxed mind
Obviously, other ways exist to achieve this; however, for beginners, relaxation and mindfulness work just as well as more advanced forms of meditation.
Mindful concentration requires us to train our minds to monitor our breathing patterns, muscle relaxation, and visualization. When we first learn meditation techniques, we can focus too much on our breathing, and create tension in our shoulders, neck, and upper chest area as we inhale and exhale deeply. The important thing is to relax the body; the relaxed breathing will, with practice, follow. However, we must be relaxed first.
Don’t aim for perfection. Like yoga, meditation can be a life-long practice and journey of personal discovery.
How Meditation Can Help Recovery
- It helps our mind and body relax
- We become more aware of our thoughts
- We develop greater personal awareness
- We learn to counter negative thoughts with positive thinking
- Lowered blood pressure may help reduce our stress levels
- Lowered blood pressure may also help heal inflammation caused by substance abuse
Meditation during rehabilitation is not the only approach we can take when working toward managing our addiction, and it may not be right for everyone. However, it may provide us with enjoyable moments of relaxation when we feel stressed. It can also help us learn how to cope with residual addiction urges.
In addiction recovery, meditation and mindfulness are important. Entering into a state of self-awareness is beneficial to anyone in an addiction recovery program. People who meditate are believed to exercise greater levels of control over their thoughts and emotions and can be more equipped to monitor their thought processes. Although meditation has been shown to help in various ways outside addiction, it is only comparatively recently recognized as a legitimate treatment tool. Surrounded by the sublime landscape of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. Against a backdrop of clean, mountain air, your substance abuse or mental health recovery is supported by a range of treatment and aftercare options developed with your needs in mind. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035.