The Art of Meditation in Recovery
When we talk about holistic therapies for recovery, the art of meditation often comes up. That’s because meditation can be an exceptional tool for clearing the mind of negative thoughts and re-centering priorities—it’s also something that anybody can do, regardless of whether they’ve tried meditation before.
Meditation is a mind and body practice with a few key core elements:
- It’s done in a quiet location
- It’s done in a comfortable position, such as sitting, lying down, or even walking
- It focuses attention in a clear and targeted direction, such as on breathing or a specific body part
- It relies on an open mind and a willingness to let distractions float by
Meditation has become a helpful tool for those dealing with substance misuse, as well as for those looking for relief from stress, anxiety, and even common aches and pains. While it’s not a single solution for any issue, many people do find it useful as part of their larger recovery efforts.
Below, we’re discussing the art of meditation as it applies to recovery, including its benefits and the types of medication that may be helpful for this use.
What are the Benefits of Meditation?
There’s no such thing as a single quick fix for substance misuse, nor is meditation an immediate or even a guaranteed solution. But many people do find it helpful to practice meditation in recovery, including as a part of a more intensive professional treatment routine.
Here are some of the big benefits of the art of meditation that may be helpful for those in recovery:
Meditation teaches us the self-discipline to stay in the moment. This can be instrumental in fighting off triggering thoughts and redirecting these thoughts in more positive directions—instead of letting them take over.
Stress reduction and anxiety control.
Meditation is a proven stress reducer, and can actually combat the chemical reactions that take place in the brain and body when stress occurs. This can help with anxiety also, including both chronic and acute symptoms.
The more self-awareness someone can cultivate, the better equipped they are to identify harmful thoughts and address them with more productive and more rational thought patterns.
All of these benefits can be instrumental in recovery from substance misuse, and are good skills for anyone to learn for improved mental health.
Meditation & Substance Abuse Recovery: Does it Work?
Meditation can be immensely helpful in recovery, but it’s important to note that it’s not an end-all-be-all cure. It won’t replace professional mental health care for someone who needs it, for example. It also isn’t right for everyone.
What mediation can do however is serve as an additional tool in the process of recovery, helping individuals develop techniques they can use on their own to stay calm, focused, and aware of their goals—all of which can help to avoid relapse.
It may also be able to help with the symptoms of withdrawal, particularly things like anxiety, depression, cravings, and insomnia.
Helpful Types of Meditation
There are many different types of meditation. As for what type might be most beneficial for someone in recovery, these three are good places to start.
Also known as zazen, this method is rooted in Buddhist practices and revolves around clearing the head, or “thinking about not thinking.”
Another practice that originates from Buddhist teachings, mindfulness meditation is less about clearing all thoughts than acknowledging all thoughts as they pass through, observing them and taking notes about them without letting them spiral.
A method of meditation performed in response to the specific guidance of a practitioner, either in person or by a video or audio method such as an app. This is a great way to ease into meditative practice, especially for beginners.
Interested in learning more? We invite you to contact us to learn more about meditation and other types of holistic approaches to recovery that may be helpful for you or a loved one.