Struggling with substance abuse is a rollercoaster ride where you experience intense emotions, such as trauma, fear, anxiety, and depression, and frequently go through highs and lows. The stir of these emotions makes addiction recovery a lonely, uphill battle. While you may not sometimes realise that the cause of addiction lies deep in the feelings, one should find the root cause of why they started using substances in the first place. And meditation is the way to do that.
Meditation plays a significant role in addiction recovery. The prime job of meditation is to manage these intense emotions and calm the mind as you move towards sobriety. Meditation connects the mind with the body and may be done in many forms. Research also proved that mindfulness meditation successfully reduced stress among people with medical problems. A few more benefits of meditation are listed below:
Benefits of Meditation in the Addiction Recovery Process
In most addiction treatment programs in rehabilitation centres, self-control is taught as a practice to regulate or alter negative behaviours, thoughts, and feelings into more desirable ones and achieve long-term recovery goals. Meditation, therefore, helps increase focus and awareness, which allows for better self-control. It extends your ability to make informed decisions, control impulsive behaviours, feel confident, stay calm, and respond effectively. Meditation also improves the emotional stability of a patient so that they can make better choices.
Improved Mental Health
The reason why meditation is recommended to people dealing with depression is that it alters the brainwaves to improve psychological function. Meditation teaches people how to stay focused during mental illness and keeps the mind and body calm. This interruption in the fight or flight response also causes a reduction in the stress hormone. Research also shows that mindfulness meditation breaks the prefrontal cortex and amygdala’s relationship, which can trigger addiction. In addition, meditation reduces the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Increased Feeling of Happiness
The prolonged use of substances disrupts the production of dopamine, a pleasure hormone which makes us feel happy or good. When people use substances regularly for a long time, they cannot feel good on their own. Hence, meditation is considered a best practice for readjusting brain chemistry. Performing meditation helps release dopamine naturally. Increased dopamine then improves the feelings of anxiety and reduces negative emotions.
Reduced Relapse Risk
Meditation helps people develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with triggering situations. For example, when you practise meditation regularly, you are more likely to handle stress better. So, the next time you are tempted to use substances, you can take that stress or have more control over that urge. Meditation, therefore, helps people deal with withdrawal symptoms. It improves sleep quality, enhances mood, and improves impulse control so you can use better defence against withdrawal and relapse.
Decreased Blood Pressure
Several studies have shown that patients who meditate regularly are less likely to need blood pressure medications or transition to lower doses eventually. Meditation does that by evoking a relaxation response against stressful situations. Because it is a relaxing mind-body practice, meditation calms the activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increases activity in the parasympathetic nervous system. Also, the role of meditation in lowering blood pressure hasn’t been approved yet; that’s why you mustn’t consider meditation as the only means to keep your blood pressure in check.
Like depression, anxiety is also a mental health disorder where people find it challenging to manage their thoughts and emotions in stressful situations. Even the slightest disturbances in the routine can trigger their anxiety, especially during addiction recovery. Therefore, meditation teaches them to find a calm state to return to when they feel stuck or find it difficult to fight their impulses.
In the early stages of addiction recovery, it becomes difficult for some people to get adequate sleep. There may be plenty of reasons for disturbed sleep, such as cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and other responsibilities at home and work. Meditation techniques promote relaxation and help reduce stress. It enables people to sleep peacefully for eight hours.
Meditation Exercises for Recovering Addicts
- Controlled Breathing: Inhale and exhale slowly.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Relax every muscle of the body, increasing physical awareness
- Repeating Mantras or Phrases: Repeating a word or god’s mantra helps you focus when your mind gets distracted from harmful things.
- Guided Meditation: A trained teacher at a meditation class may help you through the process.
- Movement Meditation: It includes yoga, swimming, bike riding, or any other exercise that promotes relaxation.
Meditation in Addiction Recovery
Though every individual is different, meditation can help them overcome the challenges they face during addiction recovery. There are plenty of meditative exercises that you can try, but there is always one that can help you gain sobriety. If you are too struggling with substance use disorder and need more than the benefits meditation can offer, finding experienced and caring professionals may help. Start your recovery journey today and contact a rehabilitation centre to know more about the admission procedure, cost of rehab, type of therapies, and more.!