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
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
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.