Although meditation has been used for various reasons for thousands of years, it’s only recently that western medicine has started to realize the powerful effects that meditation can have. Meditation can enable personal breakthroughs, reduce symptoms of stress, and stimulate the production of mood-boosting hormones.
Here at Renaissance Recovery Center, we encourage our patients to learn and practice meditation as a way to strengthen skills that lead to a sober and healthy lifestyle. Meditation actually helps our minds change and grow by building new connections between different parts of the brain. It can also halt self-referential thinking that can lead to increased stress and depression. Some studies show that meditation can be just as powerful as medication when it comes to treating depression and anxiety.
Since stress is a common trigger for relapse, teaching our patients to manage stress and find effective ways to relax and practice self-care is among our top priorities.
Accessible Resource for Everyone
One of the powerful things about meditation is that it’s a simple thing that anyone can learn and can be used anywhere and anytime to achieve relaxation and soothe anxiety. It’s not reserved for the elite, and it can be practiced in the moments that it’s needed the most: at work, when dealing with conflict, and at school.
Mindfulness Exercises Help Us Recognize Our Own Patterns
Although relapse and cravings can seem like scary forces of nature that are sudden and uncontrollable, they can be monitored through steady mindfulness. Meditation helps patients recovering from addiction to recognize their own thought patterns, their anxiety triggers, and their relationship with substance addiction more clearly. When we see clearly, we can take steps to correct harmful patterns and find solutions that will help us stay sober and healthy.
Teaches Mental Discipline and Control
Meditation teaches us to recognize what’s going on in our brain and thoughtfully react appropriately. Meditation can help us divide the feelings of craving from our initial reaction of seeking a “fix.” Instead, we are able to recognize cravings for what they are and ride them out. Meditation can also strengthen our ability to control the paths that our thoughts wander down. Instead of helplessly fixating on one thing, a practiced meditator can redirect thoughts into more constructive pathways.
Enables Relaxation and Stress Relief
One of the ways that meditation helps stress relief is that it reigns in our thoughts from practicing disaster, fruitless worrying about the future, and self-referential thoughts. Instead, we are encouraged to mindfully sink into the moment and let the worries of the future and past rest for a while. We focus on gratitude and emphasize our strengths instead of obsessing about our own limitations or the areas in which we feel insufficient.