You may be familiar with meditation.
You may have even tried it in the past and decided it wasn’t for you. But did you know there are several different types of meditation?
For many people in addiction recovery, meditation has proven to be a beneficial practice to maintaining their sobriety. Mindfulness, mantra, zen, awareness, walking, and loving kindness are several of the more commonly used types of meditation practiced in recovery.
The Benefits of Meditation in Recovery
Used by different cultures all over the world for centuries, meditation is a set of techniques a person uses to focus their mind, gain a healthy perspective, and reach a better state of awareness. Although it is used by many religions as a way to achieve enlightenment and connect with a higher power, you do not have to be religious to practice it.
Recovery from an addiction is an ongoing process. The disease affects the entire person physically, spiritually, and mentally. The practice of meditation benefits all three of those areas.
- Physically: Meditation lowers blood pressure, increases the production of serotonin resulting in improved behavior and mood, increases energy levels, and decreases pain related to tension.
- Spiritually: Meditation helps people in recovery get better in touch with their mind and body, increases consciousness and intuition, and furthers their personal transformation. It also fosters an increase in happiness, oneness, creativity, and open-mindedness.
- Mentally: Meditation helps to improve emotional stability and focus, increase calmness and peace of mind, decrease stress and anxiety, and provide relaxation.
What Is Loving Kindness Meditation?
Many times, when a person is struggling with an addiction, they neglect the needs of their loved ones. They often act selfishly as their behaviors and thoughts are focused on their drug of choice. A type of Buddhist meditation, loving kindness meditation (also known as Metta meditation) develops the quality of loving acceptance of oneself and others. It focuses on developing feelings of kindness, goodwill, and warmth.
The basic emotions of kindness, compassion, and empathy are often buried deep inside a person addicted to drugs or alcohol. They often have a bad attitude toward themselves, experience negative thought patterns, and have feelings of self-loathing.
When loving kindness meditation is practiced on a regular basis, it can make relationships more meaningful and take away the confusion and pain from a mind that is troubled. It gives the person a chance to experience the positive emotions associated with being compassionate and giving love as they reconnect with loved ones. According to Greater Good in Action at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the most direct routes to happiness is kindness.
An Example of a Loving Kindness Meditation
Jack Kornfield is an American who trained as a Buddhist monk in India, Burma, and Thailand. He became an expert on meditation and was one of the first people to bring mindfulness to the West. A beautiful example of a Loving Kindness Meditation taken from Kornfield’s book The Art of Forgiveness, Loving Kindness, and Peace can be found here.
Recovery Benefits of the Practice
There are numerous benefits of loving kindness meditation. It decreases negative emotions and increases positive ones. Studies have shown that feelings of love, contentment, pride, interest, hope, joy, awe, and amusement increased after less than two months of practice. These feelings resulted in individuals experiencing an increase in mindfulness, social support, and purpose in life. During that time, symptoms of depression and anxiety decreased.
Additional benefits of the practice include:
- Decreases chronic pain, migraines, schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, and PTSD
- Strengthens and activates areas in the brain that control emotional intelligence and empathy
- Increases the volume of gray matter in the brain responsible for emotion regulation
- Slows down the biological aging process
- Increases empathy, compassion, and social connection
- Makes the person more helpful
- Decreases the person’s bias towards others
- Curbs the person’s feelings and thoughts of self-criticism
- Increases respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), which occurs when the heart rate relates to the breathing cycle
For a person in recovery, the benefits of loving kindness meditation are enduring and long-lasting.
If You Need Help
If you or a loved one has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there is help available. By taking the first step and calling a professional staff member at Canyon Vista Recovery Center in, Mesa, Arizona, you are one step closer to living a healthy and sober life.
At Canyon Vista, you will find the tools you need for a lasting recovery. Our program combines medical, clinical, psychiatric, and holistic approaches to provide guests with the foundation for lasting sobriety.
Learn more about programs offered at Canyon Vista Recovery Center, addiction help in Mesa AZ. Contact us at
- Greater Good in Action: Loving Kindness Meditation
- Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health: Small Amounts of Loving Kindness Meditation Lead to Big Change
- 18 Science-Backed Reasons to Try Loving Kindness Meditation: psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201409/18-science-backed-reasons-try-loving-kindness-meditation
- A Meditation on Loving Kindness