Meditation and other alternative therapies have become a popular part of addiction recovery. We’ll look at its effectiveness during addiction treatment. You’ll learn about the benefits of meditating during treatment and beyond here at Midwest Recovery.
What is Meditation?
When you think of meditating, perhaps you think of someone sitting with their legs crossed and their eyes closed. This is a popular position, but the truth is you can meditate in any position and anywhere. Meditation is a state of focused awareness. It is not the absence of thought or feeling. It is also a way to train your mind. It is a skill that is developed over time. It induces a state of relaxation that has a wide range of benefits.
Benefits of Meditation for Mental Health
Meditating has been shown to improve mental health. It has been shown to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. About 20% of people with a substance use disorder also have a mood disorder. Those who don’t have a clinical mood disorder are still likely to suffer from their addiction’s negative feelings.
The benefits of meditation include:
- Focus on the present moment
- Reducing negative emotions including fear and anxiety
- Increasing patience and stress tolerance
- Finding a new perspective
Meditating for Addiction
Psychological dependence is a big part of addiction, which means you feel you need the substance for your mental wellbeing. There are often emotions and thoughts that contribute to addiction. Meditating increases self-awareness and helps you learn to control your thoughts instead of being at their mercy.
Meditating can be very beneficial when you are in addiction treatment because it helps you learn to be aware of your thoughts and emotions. It also significantly reduces stress and anxiety, which are common issues.
The benefits extend well into your recovery. It has been shown to help prevent relapse as well. Beyond the benefits associated with mental health, specific ways are meditating can help you heal from addiction. It can help you gain impulse control, and it reduces cravings. These benefits are believed to be part of its effectiveness for relapse prevention.
Insomnia and pain are common issues for those with a substance use disorder. People who meditate stay asleep longer and had less severe symptoms of insomnia. It hasn’t been studied specifically on pain associated with withdrawal symptoms, but meditating has been shown to decrease pain. Those who meditate were also better able to cope with pain than those that didn’t.
How to Meditate
The most common type used in the West is mindfulness meditation. There’s a common misconception that you must empty your mind when you meditate. Most people find this nearly impossible and will only get frustrated by attempting it. The more you try not to think something, the harder it is not to think it. Instead, mindfulness practice lets thoughts come and go without judging them. Recognize the thought and let it go, without labeling it good or bad. Eventually, your mind will settle. Thoughts may not stop, but they become slower and calmer.
The other aspect of mindfulness is focusing your attention on something. Many people focus on their breathing. If this is comfortable for you, you can focus on anything in your environment, a physical sensation, or even a thought. Focus on your hand, a spot on the wall, the pressure you feel from your seat as you sit. When you find your attention wandering, gently bring it back, without judging the lapse of focus.
Addiction Treatment at Midwest Recovery Center
If you need addiction treatment, contact us at Midwest Recovery Center in Toledo, Ohio. We provide evidence-based treatment, including holistic and alternative therapies that complement addiction therapy. You don’t have to fight your addiction alone. Contact us today at 833.627.0039, or contact us online to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.