Meditation and its Role in Recovery

Meditation is a very useful exercise that helps to improve mind-body connection and effectively induce relaxation and serenity. It has a positive effect on the overall physical and mental health of an individual. According to UCLA Dual Diagnosis Program (2016), “Meditation is a complementary and alternative (CAM) approach to mainstream addiction recovery services, such as psychotherapy and group counseling.” Combining traditional therapies and meditation may yield better results and help in addiction recovery. Meditation focuses on becoming aware of one’s feelings, surroundings, thoughts, and physical sensations. It trains an individual to accept his/her feelings and thoughts without being judgmental. Benefits of meditation Meditation is a time-tested method of practicing self-control. It helps one attain inner peace, increase self-awareness, and improve brain function. When done properly and coupled with the right treatment therapies, meditation may help an individual detach from thoughts and impulses which can help reduce cravings and prevent relapse. There are several psychological and physical benefits of meditation for a person in recovery. Some of them are as follows:
  • Controlling blood pressure: According to an article published by the National Institute of Health, meditation helps lower the blood pressure of those at risk of hypertension.
  • Immune system enhancement: Meditation can be helpful in improving one’s immunity.
  • Pain relief: Meditation may decrease subjective pain among the practicing individuals.
  • Anxiety relief: When done correctly and under proper guidance, meditation can be helpful in controlling anxiety.
  • Stress management:Meditation may also be helpful in controlling stress levels.
  • Reduce depression: According to several pieces of research done by UCLA*, meditation may help in reducing depression among those who practice it regularly.
  • Better sleep: UCLA research suggests that meditation helps to reduce insomnia.
According to a research conducted by UCLA and Massachusetts General Hospital, meditation when practiced regularly, can be very powerful and trigger the following changes:
  • Increased speed of information processing, improved decision making, and enhancement in memory formation.
  • Minimize the loss caused by age-related changes in the brain.
  • Reduction in stress and anxiety.
The therapeutic value of meditation, when coupled with the correct recovery program, can help in an individual’s speedy recovery with reduced risk of relapse. How does it work? Meditation can be practiced using various techniques, each yielding different results. It is best to try each technique to understand which one works best for an individual. The various techniques include:
  • Breathing: In this technique, the focus is on natural breathing (inhalation and exhalation).
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: This technique focuses on mindfulness. It brings awareness to each body part ultimately resulting in complete relaxation.
  • Mantra-based: In this technique, a mantra is used as an anchor to help improve one’s concentration.
  • Guided: A trained teacher guides the participants verbally through the meditation process.
  • Movement meditation: This technique involves various physical activities like walking, yoga, hiking, and surfing while being aware of the body movement.
What works for one person may not work for another, making it important to keep an open mind while trying out the various techniques of meditation. Many recovery centers incorporate meditation into their treatment programs and it serves as a complimentary form of treatment. It is combined with traditional treatment methods like music therapy, relaxing massages, acupuncture etc. Usually, meditation classes at the addiction treatment centers are led by therapists or other certified staff members. They guide the participants through the exercises and help them maximize the benefits of meditation. Meditation is a healthy practice and often people continue practicing it even after leaving the treatment center. Good emotional health and well-being is essential for everyone, not just for those in recovery. REFERENCE: RECOVERY ORG

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