How Meditation Can Help You Maintain Sobriety

For those unaware, mindfulness and meditation encompass a collection of activities that are designed to help you collect your thoughts, slow down your thinking, generate awareness of your body, and hopefully enhance the speed of your recovery. No matter what portion of the journey you are on, mindfulness and meditation can significantly impact your recovery in a positive way.

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness encompasses whatever daily habits or rituals you can pick up that help you become aware of your thoughts, emotions, sensations and the world around you. Sometimes, life can be chaotic and cause you to lose sight of your sense of self. We forget who we are because we are devoted to building the idea of ourselves for other people. When our thoughts begin to happen to us, instead of us controlling our thoughts, this is bad. Mindfulness can help you master the thoughts in your mind, giving you the opportunity to identify negative modes of thinking, and replace them with life affirming ones.

WHAT IS MEDITATION?

Meditation is any practice that allows you to focus entirely on one thing for a period of 10 minutes to an hour. Meditation is one of the popular practical applications of mindfulness in the world. You can meditate in many ways, but they are all united by the practice of deep focus, deep breathing, and quiet. Yoga is probably the most common form of meditation, but meditation is also practiced by Buddhist monks. Meditation trains the body to relax and incites an inner peace.

HOW CAN MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION HELP WITH SOBRIETY?

Numerous studies have been published correlating mindfulness and meditation with alleviating a host of mental and physical health problems, such as addiction, insomnia, headaches and more. It has become such a widely accepted form of therapy that it is now implemented in treatment centers along with cognitive behavioral therapy. Mindfulness and meditation based therapies can help patient’s combat depression, anxiety, addiction, and other challenges.

These practices teach you how to calm your brain when experiencing urges and cravings. It also helps you recognize the self-sabotaging thoughts that enter your head, and teaches you how to dismantle and invalidate those fears. Mindfulness promotes more introspective and critical thinking about the ways your addiction affects yourself and the people around you.

Mindfulness has been clinically proven to help with a host of mental health difficulties, including addiction. It’s so effective, in fact, that mental health professionals now routinely use a new form of therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, to help their patients combat depression, anxiety, addiction, and similar mental health challenges. Mindfulness can help you become sober by:

  • Teaching you a way to calm your mind when you experience cravings.
  • Helping you recognize automatic self-destructive thoughts before they begin.
  • Making you more aware of the ways your addiction affects both you and the people around you.

WAYS TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION

There’s no one way to correctly practice mindfulness, but the important thing to remember is that worrying too much about getting it done right can actually sabotage your attempts/ Slow down your thoughts, pace your breathing, and pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that enter your head. It helps to eliminate distractions, and find yourself a comfortable location. You may not get it exactly right the first time, but it’s important to keep trying and learn from your experiences.

  • Yoga. Yoga is a way to cultivate mindfulness through focus on breathing, body movement, and focusing entirely on those two things instead of what’s plaguing your brain.
  • Stillness. Adopt a comfy sitting position that keeps your body upright, and set a timer for 20 minutes. Close your eyes and focus on clearing your mind of all thoughts. Again, it may be difficult at first but with time you’ll be more successful.
  • Repeat a mantra. You can induce a meditative state by closing your eyes in a sitting position, and zoning out by repeating some kind of mantra over and over till it becomes nonsensical.
  • Breathe. Focus on your breathing, taking deep breaths in and out. The ideal time length is 5 seconds in, 8 seconds out, expelling all air out of your chest. Ensure your breaths are rich and full of oxygen.

Don’t give up if you find your mind still wandering. Commit to daily meditation for at least two weeks and try to pay attention to any changes you feel between sessions.

OTHER BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION

In the 1970’s, Harvard scientists coined the term “relaxation response” after conducting research on participants who underwent transcendental meditation. This response is a reaction deep rooted in our biology, and is an involuntary reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Some other positive benefits found linked to meditation and mindfulness are:

  • Less stress
  • Deeper relaxation
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels
  • More feelings of well-being
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Better sleep
  • Less perspiration

The ultimate goal of meditation, said by eastern philosophers, is nothing. Indeed, the attempts at achievement negate the whole purpose behind meditation. It’s like trying to find a doorway that only appears when you’re not searching for it. In Buddhist philosophy, meditation is used to free the mind from its attachment to things it cannot control, such as external circumstances or strong internal emotions. Building inner harmony and serenity cannot be forced. It has to come from a natural place. A by product of being willing to let go of all the things you are trying to achieve mindfulness for, such as advancing your career.

What works for some, may not work for everyone else, so if you’re interested in meditation, give it a fair go before deeming it helpful or not. Use meditation and mindfulness to curb cravings and prevent relapse. When combined with group therapy, mindfulness can become a shared step towards the road to recovery.

If you or a loved one are seeking help to treat a substance abuse disorder, reach out to Landmark Recovery. At Landmark, we approach treatment from the perspective that everyone is different, and requires a unique and ongoing solution. Reach out to Landmark Recovery today for the best recovery and addiction help in Kentucky that can help you to begin your journey to a better tomorrow.

10/9/2020 7:00:00 AM
Jackson Bentley
Written by Jackson Bentley
Jackson Bentley works as a content manager for Landmark Recovery, a Louisville KY Rehab Center offering residential treatment, detox, and intensive outpatient services. A graduate of Arizona State University, Jackson has been involved in drug and alcohol addiction treatment for two years and has been professionally writi...
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