Did you know that meditation could be a resource used in conjunction with other recovery treatments?
First let’s talk about what hides behind addiction… Emotions. Yes, the main emotions that are at the roots of addition are fear, depression or pessimism. These emotions are from the wanting mind; thoughts that grasp onto desires of ‘if only…’ which leads to distress. Desires are a part of human nature and we are driven to strive to be better and live in a better world; however when there is an obsessive tight grasp onto desires, this can be severely detrimental.
So, we know that emotions need to be altered in order to deal with the underlying issue of addiction. Treatment of addictions may include dietary changes, psychotherapy and mindful meditation. Meditation is used for therapy since it reduces the stress hormone cortisol and helps stimulate your immune system. Your body also has a greater ability to cleanse itself and this in turn affects your neurotransmitter receptors, which then alter mood.
Time for the research results! Mindful meditation proves that qualities that were once thought to be absolute have been altered. You can fundamentally change with meditation! So, if you have an aggressive or obsessive tendency, this can be changed – yay for you!
And you thought you were too old to change… we say never. Research shows that when you practice meditation, areas of your brain actually grow thicker. With these changed thought patterns, your brain changes. Like we have said before the more you practice, the easier things become. Take for instance 10-20 years of meditation applied to someone’s life, and they are quicker to achieve a state of concentration and awareness. The key to achieving concentration and insight are intention and attention of focus. Less distractions lead to a more transformative state, which open your mind.
So all this brain stuff, how does it help with recovery? With the brain changes that occur from meditation, there are lower chances of relapsing into addictive tendencies. Meditation allows one to be able to become more self-aware and introspective, while making available other tools to cope with life. This leads to a reasonable evaluation of everyday situations with appropriate reactions that don’t depend on addiction driven predispositions.
Stress is known to be a primary trigger for relapse therefore, having meditation techniques available can help diminish that situation in a matter of minutes. Take for instance cravings (yep everyone has them); when you learn to be the observer in your thoughts, the cravings have less power and then eventually subside. The observer position allows for less emotional grasp on thoughts and feelings that may come up.
Overall, we know recovery can be difficult but meditation is a tool that can be used anywhere, anytime, and is easy to learn. Learn how to meditate with our Meditation 101 class.