Ask any recovering addict and they will tell you, recovery is no easy process. Anything that can ease the challenge is welcome, particularly in those early months. Alternative medicine practices, such as meditation, are often the piece of the puzzle needed to remain on the recovery path during trying times. There are numerous ways how meditation can benefit you during your recovery.
Lift the Mental Fog
Adjusting to life without substance abuse can be difficult for the mind. Many in the early days of recovery report a type of “mental fog” that hangs over their recovery efforts and prevents them from thinking clearly. Mindfulness meditation brings clarity to the mind, which in turn helps with stress management and the emotional roller coaster that is common during this time. Mindfulness meditation is a special meditation technique that involves focusing on the precise moment in time, with increased, non-judgmental awareness of thoughts and feelings.
Rewire Mental Pathways
In a 2011 study that was published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, researchers discovered that daily sessions of mindfulness meditation resulted in significant changes to specific areas of the brain. Subjects in the study participated in the meditation sessions, which lasted an average of 27 minutes a day, over a period of eight weeks. MR brain images taken of the subjects and a control group before and after the meditation program revealed changes in grey-matter density in the regions of the brain associated with sense of self, empathy, memory and stress.
Because mindfulness meditation requires the participant to focus on the present, rather than the future, stress levels can be significantly reduced. As the person becomes more aware of the mind’s tendency to focus on future events and worry about them, they can learn to manage this tendency more effectively. Meditation also helps the individual focus on relaxation techniques that relieve the physical symptoms of stress as well.
Satisfy the “Wanting” Mind
Addiction typically has an emotional basis, often stemming from something the mind perceives as lacking. Addicts that get sober may recognize that longing, but be unsure of how to fill it. Often spiritual pursuits are one way those in recovery can fill the void and overcome the feelings of longing. Meditation puts you in closer touch with yourself and can connect you to a higher power to meet those needs. The spiritual element is one reason 12-step programs continue to be effective and why adding that element through meditation or another discipline can make the difference in a successful recovery.
At Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers, we recognize one size does not fit all when it comes to successful recovery. We offer a number of elements in our treatment programs to help our adolescent patients find the path that works best for them. To learn more about our programs, contact Visions at 866-889-3665.