Table of Contents
Meditation is a centering, soothing way of connecting mind and body, reducing stress, and improving quality of life. Do you meditate? For a person in drug or alcohol addiction recovery, meditation can be a viable way of controlling cravings, managing anxiety, and creating a healthy, focused lifestyle.
If you’re picturing meditation as sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed, doing nothing but trying not to think, you may decide it’s not for you. But meditation comes in numerous forms, some of which can involve sound and movement. Finding a way to meditate that works for you is essential.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a holistic practice in which the goal is to improve focus and attention; connect the body and mind with even, paced breathing; and work through difficult challenges, such as emotions or negative thoughts, in a calm, logical manner.
While traditional meditation involves sitting calmly, focusing on the breath, and observing the thoughts and emotions that arise, any form of meditation can be helpful in addiction recovery. This includes those forms that are more spiritual and those based in self-healing. We describe a few forms of meditation below:
One of the most commonly used forms is mindfulness meditation, a process that’s much like what ancient Buddhists have used for centuries. In this method, you’ll sit in a quiet area and pay close attention to your thoughts, feeling as though they are passing through your mind. As thoughts come up, you do not pass any judgment on them – you don’t view them as negative or positive. You simply “see” them in your mind’s eye and note what patterns exist.
Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool because it improves focus, awareness, and concentration. It allows you to focus on your breathing while you feel what’s happening throughout your body, including sensations, emotions, and thoughts. It is also one of the easiest forms of meditation to learn and practice alone.
With focused meditation, the goal is to use one of the five senses as a tool for concentration. For example, you might use the sense of sight to focus by gazing at the moon or staring at a flickering candle. You might use the sense of touch by counting mala beads.
Focused meditation is difficult, but with practice, it’s possible to build up your ability to focus for longer periods of time and avoid getting caught up in stray thoughts. The benefit of focused meditation is just that – to help improve a person’s ability to concentrate.
Both Hindu and Buddhist cultures use mantra meditation heavily, and it is something you can do at home as well. In this type of meditation, the focus is on some type of repeated sound. By focusing on that sound, it is possible to clear the mind and improve focus.
Mantra meditation can use various types of sounds, such as phrases repeated over and over again, specific words, or sounds. One of the most commonly used mantras is “ohm.” The process involves alternating the mantra with periods of silence, returning to the mantra as needed when thoughts begin to stray.
Visualization meditation focuses on helping a person to relax, which can be critical to anyone who is battling cravings, anxiety, or tensions related to addiction recovery. In this method, a person will visualize images, people, or scenes that are positive and peaceful. The goal is to imagine the scene or image in detail, using all five of your senses to bring it to life.
Visualization can work in various ways. For example, you can create an image in your mind of yourself being successful and succeeding at tasks that are important to you. Doing this helps you to focus on the positive and allows you to imagine what is to come if you achieve your goals. Visualization like this can also help create a peaceful experience.
How to Start Using Meditation
Embracing meditation takes some time and practice. You do not have to invest a lot of money or time into it. Perhaps the easiest way to get started is to find a quiet place in your home to sit with yourself and focus on something positive or to simply count your breathing. Close your eyes, think, feel, and allow any negative energy to pass through you.
You can learn how to meditate through meditation apps or local teachers. Yoga teachers often include meditation in their classes, and more and more therapists are using meditation with their clients to address anxiety and other issues.
Work to Improve Your Well-being
At Canyon Vista in Mesa, Arizona, we’re here to help you overcome many of the challenges you’re facing. A holistic approach to drug and alcohol treatment ensures you are confident in the future ahead. Contact us to learn more.