Embracing Meditation in Recovery

Meditation is a profound mindfulness practice that offers a plethora of benefits for individuals seeking growth and healing. Thus, becoming familiar with the benefits of meditation in recovery and learning how to incorporate meditation into daily practice can be especially valuable for lasting wellness. 12 South Recovery believes in the use of both traditional and holistic therapeutic techniques, including meditation, to achieve recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) as well as mental health disorders.

What Is Meditation?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “The term “meditation” refers to a variety of practices that focus on mind and body integration and are used to calm the mind and enhance overall well-being.” Meditation is an ancient mindfulness practice, used for centuries to foster peace, and wellness and improve an individual’s quality of life.

When people consider meditation, many likely imagine the stereotypical person sitting with their legs folded, their hands on their knees, and their eyes closed. Further, the person is usually sitting in complete silence with little or no distractions around them. It is important to note that while this is a popular form of meditation, it is not the only way a person can meditate.

This popular stereotype also does not identify what a person is supposed to be doing internally as they meditate. Sitting alone in a quiet space does not pose health benefits in the same way that meditation does. Moreover, during meditation, the goal is to bring awareness to all thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment.

The Benefits of Meditation in Recovery

If a person does not feel motivated to engage in meditation in recovery, it may be because they are not personally familiar with the endless benefits of this ancient practice. An article from Ayu highlights some of the most notable health benefits of meditation, including the following:

  • Decreased depression
  • Stress reduction
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Reduced physical and psychological pain
  • Improved memory

Additionally, the article notes specific psychological benefits of meditation, including:

  • Reduced blood pressure and heart rate
  • Improved oxygen utilization
  • Reduced cortisol (a stress hormone)
  • Carbon dioxide elimination
  • Improved blood flow
  • Lower cholesterol levels

Recovery from addiction and other mental health disorders is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, and anger, to name a few. Learning how to combat triggers, cravings, and difficult emotions is necessary for lasting healing. Moreover, the physical impact of substance abuse and mental health disorders can wreak havoc on an individual’s physical health. Incorporating meditation during recovery can help address all of these challenges and provide an immensely valuable coping tool, especially in early sobriety.

Different Practices of Meditation in Recovery

As mentioned previously, there is no one “right” way to meditate. Before embracing meditation in recovery, it is a good idea to explore different meditation practices and learn step-by-step instructions for each practice.

Mindfulness Meditation

A form of meditation called mindfulness meditation often adheres to the aforementioned stereotype of traditional meditation. Despite its simplicity, it is not necessarily an easy practice and it certainly takes time to master it. Mindfulness meditation trains the brain to slow down racing thoughts, unleash natural curiosity, and explore life experiences with presence and warmth.

To begin, find a quiet space with little to no distractions. Next, place oneself in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Set a timer for any duration. For beginners, consider starting with five to ten minutes. From there, bring attention to one’s inhales and exhales, releasing and taking in the air fully. Notice any thoughts, emotions, and sensations that surface without needing to interpret or judge them. When the mind begins to wander, gently bring the focus back to the breath.

Individuals can also consider incorporating soft, meditative music into their mindfulness meditation practice.

Guided Meditation

This form of meditation follows a similar approach to mindfulness meditation, although it is guided by an instructor or teacher. Guided meditations can be utilized in holistic therapy as well as at home.

To begin at home, find a guided meditation on Youtube, Apple Music, Spotify, or through a Google search using the keyword “guided meditation.” For those experiencing a certain emotion that they would like to process, consider adding an extra keyword. For example, if a person is experiencing anxiety, they can search “Guided meditation for anxiety.” To narrow down a search, add a specific amount of time to practice meditation.

From there, the guided meditation a person chooses will offer step-by-step instructions. Guided meditations encourage an individual to focus attention on the words of the guide rather than on their own thoughts. These types of meditations can be especially helpful for addiction recovery, especially amidst cravings, triggers, and general feelings of stress.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Practicing loving-kindness meditation in recovery can directly improve feelings of well-being and happiness. This meditation practice involves the use of mantras and affirmations to evoke warm-hearted feelings.

To begin, find a list of mantras and affirmations online. These can be geared toward addiction recovery, spiritual growth, mental health, etc. Follow the beginning steps of mindfulness meditation by finding a quiet space, sitting comfortably, and closing one’s eyes. Visualize oneself experiencing total wellness (emotional, physical, spiritual) as well as inner peace for a few deep breaths. From there, repeat several of the mantras and affirmations found online, while also reassuring oneself of self-worth and self-control.

A person can also consider reframing these phrases and verbalizing them for a friend, partner, or other loved one. Extending warm-hearted feelings outward can be an invaluable way to foster gratitude during recovery.

Utilizing Meditation in Recovery at 12 South

At 12 South Recovery, we value the use of holistic therapies and outlets – such as meditation, yoga, and breathwork – for addiction recovery. We create individualized treatment plans based on our client’s needs and goals to foster whole-person healing. Regardless of one’s treatment plan, incorporating daily meditation in recovery can be a game-changer for healing.

Meditation is an ancient mindfulness practice that can bring about a wide variety of benefits for individuals in addiction recovery. Embracing meditation in recovery can help individuals better manage triggers, cravings, and other stressful emotions. If you or a loved one is walking the road of recovery, learning about different meditative practices can be paramount. 12 South Recovery can incorporate meditation, alongside a number of other holistic therapies, into your treatment and recovery journey. We are an addiction and mental health treatment facility that recognizes the undeniable value of mindfulness for your wellness and healing. To learn more about our outpatient programs and other treatment services, give us a call today at (888) 830-8374.

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