Meditation Mentality: Why Meditation Helps Heal
Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who has been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity.
Our medical system is designed to treat symptoms instead of people. This is why we have prescriptions for every ailment. But after going through addiction recovery, it’s never been clearer that the mind and body work together.
Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and body. And we learn through recovery how traditional mental health problems, like anxiety and depression, can manifest physical symptoms. Everything is interconnected, and that’s where meditation comes in.
Meditation can be instrumental in strengthening and helping to heal the mind and body.
Here’s how meditation can help in recovery:
Shift in focus
Depression and anxiety are common symptoms that people experience in recovery, and meditation can help. Meditation involves a shift in focus that can take anyone away from their problems, even if it’s only temporary.
When you meditate, your goal is to clear your mind of passing thoughts. These are the thoughts that are often most harmful. This is the negative self-talk, worry and stress that runs through the mind unchecked. With regular meditation practice, you may learn to control these thoughts to gain a better perspective on life.
Especially when you’re recovering, it’s helpful to remain positive. Remove the thoughts that drain your positivity, and you’ll have a better chance at maintaining an optimistic outlook.
Nothing can set your recovery back like a major anxiety attack. Anxiety leaves you second guessing everything you do, and it can make you wonder whether you’re on the right path. Fortunately, meditation can help.
An American Journal of Psychiatry study found that group mindfulness training was helpful in maintaining symptoms of anxiety and panic in people with general anxiety disorder.
With a regular meditation practice, you may be able to keep your anxiety at bay, so you can focus on the important things like building a new life without drugs and alcohol.
Making you feel good
The euphoria of a dopamine boost is what keeps people going back to drugs and alcohol. We’re always chasing that high. Then, that dopamine boost is what keeps the physical symptoms of withdrawal away. In recovery, we’re left to face the world without that crutch, so we must find other ways to cope.
Studies have shown that meditation provides a natural dopamine surge that can provide some much needed feel-good effects during this time. A Cognitive Brain Research study found that mindfulness meditation provided patients with a whopping 65 percent increase in dopamine while they were meditating.
Meditation will not exactly provide the euphoria that you’ll find with many drugs, but it can help you achieve a natural feel-good state that’s a lot healthier and more sustainable.
When you make meditation part of your daily practice, mindfulness follows you wherever you go. You’ll find it easier to control those wandering thoughts throughout the day, and that’s a major benefit for people in recovery. Of course, it’s beneficial to be able to limit wandering thoughts at any time, but it’s a lot easier with fewer distractions. With practice, you’ll find that it becomes almost second-nature to acknowledge thoughts and then set them free.
And it’s not just thoughts that you’ll be aware of. It’s everything. There’s a mind-body connection that comes naturally with meditation. You’ll become more aware of your body and movements. You’ll also become more aware of your surroundings.
Living with purpose
Meditation does not have to be a religious experience. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with faith. It’s a way to exercise your mind, so that you can become a stronger person. The purpose you’ll find through meditation comes through understanding that you’re part of something larger than yourself.
Meditation can help you realize that your problems aren’t as large as you may think. When you become more aware of your self, you may find peace. If your mind is strong, your body will remain unaffected by any stresses or chaos that may come in and out of your life.
You can practice meditation on your own, or you can find a treatment program that incorporates meditation, like Refuge Recovery. Refuge Recovery is rooted in Buddhist principles, but all are welcome. You don’t need to become Buddhist to benefit from one of these programs.
If you’re struggling with recovery, the important part is that you get help. Meditation can be very beneficial at this time, and it may prove to be a worthwhile addition to your treatment program.