6 Helpful Approaches to Meditation for Addiction Recovery

6 Helpful Approaches to Meditation for Addiction Recovery

January 13, 2020

6 Helpful Approaches to Meditation for Addiction Recovery

Addiction Mental Health Substance Abuse

Did you know that over 35 million Americans have tried meditation?

More people are trying meditation to improve their emotional and physical well-being. Using meditation for addiction is a useful technique to help you along the road to recovery.

If you’ve never considered meditation or you’re skeptical about using it during treatment, keep reading. There are many benefits to meditation that may surprise you.

It’s not hard to get started. Learn some of the different approaches to meditation to find a method that works for you.

1. Be Mindful

If you’re familiar with meditation, you’ve likely heard of mindfulness before. In simple terms, mindfulness is the process of focusing your attention on what’s happening around you in the present moment. The goal is to observe feelings and thoughts without judgment.

You might have passing thoughts during meditation and this is normal. Meditation isn’t about emptying your mind, it’s about putting aside the past and the future for a moment and focusing on the present.

Remember, there isn’t any “right” or “wrong” way to think while practicing mindfulness.

Mindful meditation lets those in treatment recognize thoughts associated with addiction. By sensing these thoughts, an individual can learn to reshape their brain and change their way of thinking.

2. Start with the Breath

Breathing exercises are essential in most meditation practices. Some meditation courses guide you through deep breathing exercises. Others encourage you to focus on your normal breathing.

Breathing exercises can take as little time as a minute or less. There are many types of breathing methods out there. Try different techniques to see what works best for you.

Shamatha breathing focuses on your natural breathing and is probably best for those new to meditation. You don’t have to worry about a “right” or “wrong” way to breathe.

Sometimes it helps to focus on the way the breath feels entering your nose or the sensation of your belly or chest moving as you breathe. Each time you feel your mind wandering, return to focusing on the breath.

3. Become Aware of Your Thoughts

Many beginners feel discouraged because they’re distracted by wandering thoughts. But instead of beating yourself up when your mind wanders, learn to recognize your thoughts for what they are.

Author and meditation teacher Allan Lokos once said, “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that⁠—thoughts.”

When going through the addiction recovery process, many people let their negative thoughts take hold. We don’t always have to believe these negative thoughts that go through our minds.

Let go of those thoughts and gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Practicing mindful meditation helps you release harmful thoughts and learn to think positively.

4. Practice Gratitude

Learning to practice gratitude and compassion can also help with the addiction recovery process.

Those that learn to express gratitude can see their situation in a new light, which can help change their way of thinking. Gratitude helps people to change their mindset and focus on their support system and the positive things in their lives.

It does take time to veer away from negative or isolating thoughts and think in a positive way. Start with the little things if you’re struggling. For example, take a moment to appreciate someone holding the door open or saying something nice to you.

Expressing gratitude helps those struggling with addiction to appreciate their support system more. Rather than focusing on negative feelings, focus on feeling thankful. Feel thankful for sobriety and those individuals that encourage your success.

5. Try Different Forms of Meditation

When many people think of meditation, they imagine someone sitting cross-legged on the floor and chanting. But the truth is that there are many ways to meditate.

Try different types of meditation to see what suits you best. For instance, you could start by reading reflections.

On the Alcoholics Anonymous website, you can read and follow along with the AA daily meditation. These Daily Reflections are posted each day.

If a quiet meditation doesn’t work, try a guided session or listen to music. You can even practice mini-meditations at your desk at work. It helps to close your eyes and find a comfortable position, but you can practice meditation almost anywhere and at any time.

6. Take a Few Minutes Each Day

Mastering meditation takes time and practice, so it’s important to meditate each day. Even taking one or two minutes out of your day to focus on breathing can help with the addiction recovery process. Think of it as your daily meditation recovery process.

There are many evidence-backed benefits to meditating including increased self-awareness and better control over your emotions and willpower. Meditation can also help you through the recovery process by teaching you to avoid triggers and improve your discipline.

Meditation can even change the structure of the brain. A recent study showed that even eight weeks practicing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) could change the grey matter volume of the brain. Regular mindfulness meditation can improve the part of your brain responsible for memory, learning, and emotional regulation.

Further Resources for Success

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Take advantage of the many support groups out there. Rely on your treatment center for additional resources and guidance.

Technology is also a valuable tool that can help you overcome addiction. Meditation apps and podcasts can help keep you on track and connect you with a community.

In a hurry? The Meditation Minis podcast is the best meditation podcast for busy individuals. Each session takes fifteen minutes or less.

Phone apps like Insight Timer and Headspace also help you learn the art of meditation through guided sessions.

Using Meditation for Addiction Recovery

Using meditation for addiction recovery can help you reshape your brain and overcome negative thoughts and bad habits. In order for it to work, you need to stick with it. Sometimes that means trying different methods to see which style of meditation works for you.

Are you or someone you care about struggling with addiction? If so, proper and prompt intervention is important. At Invictus Health Group, we partner with the top treatment centers to offer a customized treatment plan using evidence-backed methods.

Learn more about our addiction treatment programs and contact us today to get the help and support that you deserve.

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