The Benefits of Meditation for Addiction Recovery

The Benefits of Meditation for Addiction Recovery

Meditation is an exercise that focuses on the mind-body connection, and has the goal of inducing relaxation and serenity. Improvements in physical and mental health have been linked to mediation. Meditation focuses on mindfulness or bringing awareness to one’s present feelings, as well as accepting any feelings and thoughts that come without judging them.

There are various meditation practices, but they all have a few common components like finding a quiet, distraction free setting, sitting or lying down comfortably, and focusing on breathing or a mantra. There is no set duration of time to meditate. Individuals beginning meditation can start with a few minutes and build up to longer sessions.

The Benefits of Meditation

Generally speaking, meditation promotes a sense of inner peace and calm and increases self awareness. It can also improve mental functioning and allows the individual to detach from their thoughts and impulses. This can lead to a reduction in cravings and prevent relapse.

So how can meditation help an individual in recovery? There are numerous psychological and physical benefits for the individual, like:

  • Decreased blood pressure: Studies suggest that meditating can lower the blood pressure.
  • Immune system enhancement: A mindful meditation program may improve immune system functioning.
  • Pain relief: Meditation can decrease subjective pain ratings.
  • Anxiety relief: Meditative techniques can help individuals control anxiety.
  • Stress management: Meditation can produce small to moderate improvements in stress levels.
  • Reduction in depressive symptoms: Some evidence suggests improvement of depression in those practicing meditation.

Better sleep: Studies suggest meditation may enhance sleep in insomniacs.

Meditation Exercises for Addiction Treatment

There are many different types of meditative exercises. Individuals can try out various techniques and choose which one works best for them. Some meditation exercises are:

  • Breathing: the individual should breathe naturally and focus on their inhalation and exhalation.
  • Muscle Relaxation: mindfully relaxing each part of the body progressively, ultimately relaxing the individual from head to toe.
  • Mantra Based: repeating a word or phrase internally or out loud. If the mind wanders, bring the intention back to the mantra.
  • Guided Meditation: where an instructor verbally guides one through the process.
  • Movement Meditation: this could be yoga, tai chi, walking, hiking, etc, and being mindful of each part of the body.

Many recovery centers have begun to incorporate meditation into their treatment programs. Meditation isn’t a standalone treatment, or as a replacement for traditional treatment, but is meant to be used as a complementary tool. Rehab programs use meditation in combination with group counselling, medication, one on one therapy and education sessions.

Many individuals first encounter meditation and mindful practices when they enter a treatment program and find that they continue to do it after they leave rehab. Meditation is a lifelong habit and can promote long-term abstinence for those in recovery.

At Blueprints we understand that each individual is unique and different people need different approaches in treatment. We offer individualized programs to help resolve addictive behaviors.

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