SelfCare Sunday: Developing a Meditation Practice
Can Meditation Help You Stay Sober?
Step 11 in the 12-steps of recovery says those recovering from addiction should seek, “through prayer and meditation to develop a conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry that out.”
We’ll talk about the God part of this step in another post. For now, let’s focus on the meditation part. For many, this will be an easier place to start as meditation isn’t really based in religion–it is more of an act of exploration.
Over the centuries, the power of meditation to change an individual’s neurological makeup, while helping them gain emotional stability, has been well documented. This makes meditation a powerful tool for those on the path to recovery.
For those looking to start a meditation practice here is some inspiration and tips on how meditation can change your body and mind plus some recommendations on how to start!
Studies show inmates who practiced meditation for three months drank less alcohol, and used less marijuana.
Meditation was also found to be more effective than traditional chemical dependency treatment plans.
Meditation Creates a “Natural High”
The brain’s “happiness center,” otherwise known as the prefrontal cortex, is stimulated while intoxicated.
Meditation also stimulates the prefrontal cortex, giving those who regularly practice meditation a “natural high.”
Meditation Changes Brainwaves
EEG biofeedback training uses alpha and theta waves to help reprogram the brains of those suffering from addiction. This alpha-theta brain state can also be achieved through meditation.
Meditation Releases Dopamine in the Brain
Active addiction wrecks havoc on the brain’s neurons and chemistry and can result in depletion of key ingredients in mental well-being, such as serotonin and dopamine. Meditation has been shown to help release dopamine and, especially in early recovery, help improve emotional well being.
Meditation to Manage Stress
Stress puts the body into “fight or flight” mode. Meditation shifts the body out of survival mode, helping us manage the kind of stress that can lead to addiction.
What are some different forms of meditation that are best for sober people?
A meditation based on rhythmic movement to calm the brain and reach a meditative state, this is one of he easiest forms of meditation for many to start with. That’s because walking, running, cycling, swimming or any other physical action can count as moving meditation. Raking leaves? Shoveling snow? Walking the dog? Add some intention, reflection and regularity and you’ve got a moving meditation practice.
Those who practice guided meditation strive to reach a meditative state with the guidance of a trained practitioner or teacher. There are many forms this can take, including the use of a mantra, repeated to yourself while meditating, to thematic guided-meditations on anything from stress reduction to getting a better night’s sleep.
Those practicing silent meditation focus on sounds, objects, visualization, breathing, movement, or attention itself to increase awareness and reach the desired meditative state.
There’s an App for that
In our modern age, there’s an app for everything, including meditation. Some of the most well-known apps for meditation include Insight Timer or Headspace. Try a few, and see which meditation app suits you best.
Despite meditation being an effective tool on the road to recovering, beginning a meditation practice can seem intimidating. It doesn’t have to be, because there really is no wrong way to do it.
In fact, all it takes to build a success meditation practice is intention – so just find a place to begin and keep with it!
Where to start if you want to get sober?
If you have more questions about getting sober or how to cultivate long term sobriety, call our patient care specialists at 1-800-543-9905. You can also submit a confidential inquiry form.
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