20 Jul Using Meditation to Treat Addiction
Meditation is a mindfulness-based practice used to calm the inner mind, enhance focus, and provide a wealth of health benefits to the human body and brain over time. Meditation has been used as far back as 1500 BCE in India, according to some guesstimates, and between the 3rd and 6th century BC, according to China. As far as the definitive origin date for the practice of meditation, there is no true or clear understanding of when the practice was first discovered and practiced by humans.
The practice of meditation is useful for clearing the mind, calming emotions, and learning how to prevent oneself from becoming overstimulated or worn down by external stimuli and environments. Throughout the past century alone, the study of meditation has provided a plethora of data sets that have enlightened both meditators and the scientific community alike. From lowering blood pressure and increasing one’s focus to reducing menstrual cramps and alleviating chronic pain or other digestive symptoms, meditation can be extremely beneficial for anyone. For those who are struggling with addictions to alcohol, drugs, or other substances, using meditation can help to effectively treat addictive behaviors while also providing a sense of inner peace and relief from anxiety and other depressive signs and symptoms.
Basics of Meditation
When you think of meditation, your first instinct may be to envision Buddhist monks sitting in silence and avoiding the outside world with the use of mantras, chants, and other guides. However, meditation is much broader and provides you with plenty of flexibility, even if you are just getting into meditation and started for the first time. The concept of meditation involves “emptying the mind,” therefore providing stress-relief along with numerous health benefits. While the concept may seem impossible in an increasingly hectic, competitive, and busy world, it is possible for anyone who has the desire to meditate to do so with enough time and effort.
One way to get started with meditation is to designate a space or room in your home that provides you with the most comforting, welcoming, peaceful, and suitable environment. Sit in a relaxing and comfortable position that is not distracting before you get started. While closing your eyes, you may find that visualizing yourself inside of a bubble can help to control the input and output of your thoughts. While visualizing that you are inside of a bubble, allow thoughts to come as they please. As thoughts begin to enter your mind, visualize them inside of a bubble outside of your own, helping to muffle the sounds of the thoughts. You can also visualize that as thoughts get closer to you inside of your bubble, they simply pop or dissipate.
Do not get frustrated or angry when you experience unwanted or intrusive thoughts, as this is common and will occur regardless of how much you meditate. The more you practice getting into your own personal headspace that is free from distractions and mind “clutter,” the easier it will become to distance yourself from stressful situations and negative thoughts.
Tips for Regularly Meditating
With work, school, managing families, cooking meals, and taking care of your home, hobbies, and vehicles, it may seem next to impossible to add another task or chore into your daily regimen. However, because meditation is possible from virtually any location and does not require more than 10 minutes each day, it is possible for just about everyone to partake in the practice of meditation at least once a day. Some tips to keep in mind to help you stay on course when you begin meditating daily or on a regular basis include:
- Meditate as early as possible in your day to prevent procrastinating or avoiding the practice altogether after a long day of work.
- Avoid putting pressure on yourself, as meditation does not provide instantaneous results, but results that come over extended periods of time and committed dedication.
- Research various forms and methods of meditating to discover methods of meditation that are most fitting for you physically and based on your current location and the space you have available to you.
- Try different types of meditation and explore the reasoning behind each method to gain valuable insight into your own inner thoughts and feelings regarding the practice itself.
- Journal your experience(s) daily to keep track of your moods and emotions as you work through stressful obstacles and periods in your life
Do not rush when meditating, as meditation is more about the journey rather than the ultimate outcomes.
- Allow yourself to free your mind and relax, even if you feel as though it is impossible to do so due to other obligations in life
Do not give up, even if meditating seems tricky or if you are having difficulties reaching a heightened state of mind.
How Meditation Can Be Used to Treat Addiction
Using meditation to treat addiction is possible for those who are currently involved in an inpatient alcohol treatment program and even for those who are in the process of attending outpatient rehab. Choosing to meditate regularly each day can help to significantly boost mood, reduce anxiety, and improve overall focus and ability. Meditation can also help individuals to free their minds from the preoccupation of obtaining and using drugs or alcohol. Once an individual acclimates to the process of meditating and emptying their mind each day, it becomes much easier to achieve desired results, especially as they pertain to abstaining from drugs, alcohol, and other substances.
Understanding the mental, emotional, and physical benefits that meditation has to offer can help provide you with the insight and tools necessary to get started on your own journey to a life of sobriety. With a better understanding of the practice and history of meditation and how it can help you to reset and realign your own mind and brain, you can use meditation to assist you in the process of removing drugs, alcohol, and other harmful and potentially deadly substances from your life for good.