Approximately 8 percent of American adults currently practice meditation.
There are a number of reasons why people meditate. Some do it for stress relief, while others find that it helps with depression or anxiety.
Many people who struggle with addiction have also found meditation to be a crucial part of their recovery.
Read on to learn how meditation therapy can help you overcome addiction and become the best version of yourself.
What is Meditation Therapy?
Meditation therapy is all about learning to focus your attention on one single point of reference. You can focus on your breath, a bodily sensation, like your chest rising and falling, or repeat a mantra (a specific word or phrase).
Meditation is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years and has its roots in Eastern religion. However, anyone can practice and benefit from meditation. This includes people who are not particularly religious.
Many people are intimidated by meditation. They think that there’s no way they can sit still and focus on just their breath or a mantra for an extended period of time.
In reality, those who think they “can’t” meditate are usually those who can benefit the most from the practice.
Types of Meditation
When most people think of meditation, they think of sitting cross-legged on the floor with their eyes closed, maybe chanting, “om.”
Meditation therapy certainly can involve all these things. However, it doesn’t have to.
Meditation comes in many different forms, including the following:
This kind of meditation involves focusing on your breath and bodily sensations while observing your thoughts as they come and go.
This practice is all about attaining spiritual growth by seeking a deeper connection with a higher power. Essential oils are often used to enhance the meditation experience.
Focused meditation requires you to focus on an internal sensation or an external influence, like a candle or mala beads, to train your mind.
This kind of meditation involves walking slowly, often through nature. The goal is to focus in on the experience of breathing and moving the body.
During this practice, rather than focusing on the breath or a bodily sensation, you will repeat a phrase, word, or sound either out loud or silently.
Meditation can also be combined with spiritual movement practices, including yoga, tai chi, or qigong. These practices require you to work on aligning your breath with movements to create a sense of equanimity.
How Does Meditation Benefit Addicts?
Meditation has been shown to have some amazing effects on people who are struggling with addiction.
In fact, it’s so effective that it’s practiced in rehab centers in Philadelphia and throughout the rest of the country.
Changes in the Brain
In as little as eight weeks, studies have shown that daily meditation has the ability to rewire the brain’s pathways.
It also increases the amount of gray matter in areas of the brain that are associated with learning, memory, introspection, and self-awareness.
As a result of these changes, addicts are better able to evaluate their daily situations and respond appropriately without turning to drugs or alcohol.
Better Stress Management
These changes in the brain also help addicts better handle their stressors.
When an addict does relapse, stress is often one of the biggest contributors.
Meditation therapy helps people deal with their stressors in a healthy way. Rather than reaching for a drink or drugs, people who meditate are able to create some distance between themselves and the stressors and see things more objectively.
Meditation also teaches people to respond, rather than react, when things go wrong, and to think about the consequences of their actions.
Furthermore, certain forms of meditation can also help people feel more connected to a higher power. This feeling often helps those who are struggling with addiction keep things in perspective and resist their triggers.
There are two more reasons that meditation therapy is a great component of any recovery program.
First, it’s simple. It may not necessarily be easy to sit and focus on one feeling or phrase. But, meditation itself is simple and straightforward.
This is especially true in today’s digital age. There are dozens of meditation apps and how-to guides available online that can help guide beginners and get them started.
Meditation is also a useful tool for addicts because it can be done anywhere. There’s no special equipment required, and it’s totally free, so everyone has access to the benefits.
When someone is in a high-stress situation at work or at home, they can pause, take some deep breaths, and refocus. Many addicts say that even just taking a few deep breaths can help them resist the temptation to drink or use drugs to deal with their stressors.
Getting Started with Meditation
When you’re first getting started with meditation therapy, the easiest thing to do is to simply set a timer for one minute.
Then, find somewhere to sit where your back can be reasonably straight. If it’s too uncomfortable for you to sit up straight, try lying on your back instead.
Once you’re in a comfortable position, start the timer, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Focus on the sensation of your breath going in and out.
Sometimes it’s helpful to softly say “in” to yourself when you inhale and “out” when you exhale.
If you get distracted, simply acknowledge the fact that you were distracted and begin again. That’s it!
With some practice, you’ll soon be able to increase the amount of time you sit and meditate each day.
Looking for More Help?
You now know more about how meditation therapy can benefit you or someone you know who is working to overcome an addiction. But, are you still looking for more help and guidance?
If so, you may want to consider a Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique (QHHT) session. It will help you learn more about yourself, overcome your current struggles, and reach your ultimate potential.
Contact us today to schedule a session or learn more about QHHT. We can’t wait to talk to you!