Do you ever wonder why meditation for addiction is practiced in numerous treatment facilities? If you’re unfamiliar with meditation, it can seem daunting, boring, and a little mundane. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and meditation for addiction has not only helped many stay sober, but it’s powerful results have been backed by science, and changed hundreds of thousands of lives.
In fact, did you know that Albert Einstein had daily meditation naps that brought him answers before he even asked questions? Additionally, Tina Turner credits her meditation practice to giving her the strength needed to leave her husband in the 70’s. While meditation isn’t just sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed, it’s often used as an umbrella term to practice being in a peaceful state of inner serenity.
As amazing as meditation can seem, the research to back it up has been tracked by numerous studies for years (as many as 3,000). Oftentimes, these studies were based on multiple types of meditation and not only include mental, emotional, and relational benefits, but physical benefits as well.
In short, if you aren’t yet convinced sitting crossed-legged with your eyes closed is for you, there may be a few key factors you may not be aware of why meditation for addiction can contribute to your overall health. Here are seven ways that meditation can change your life.
Helps Ease Stress and Anxiety
According to a study from Harvard, meditation can help reduce grey-matter density in areas of the brain related to stress and anxiety. Specifically, mindfulness meditation helps those who let their distracting thoughts have too much power. Mindfulness meditation teaches individuals to handle and reframe those thoughts in a more productive. Additionally, another form of meditation, “Open Monitoring Meditation,” involves monitoring an experience from moment to moment – non-reactively – as a way to recognize the nature of their behaviors and patterns. In this study, meditators were able to look at their thoughts moment-to-moment instead of getting caught on one worrying and anxiety provoking thought.
Helps Foster Positive Decision Making
Oftentimes, meditation can help become more aware of surroundings and thought processes, leading to a broader understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you. A UCLA study explored the correlation between meditation and brain size. What they found was that two areas of the brain – the right frontal cortex and the hippocampus were larger in people who practiced meditation regularly. Those parts of the brain are often linked to emotional stability, concentration, and decision making.
Helps Ease Unwanted Patterns of Addiction
Do you always wonder why meditation is practiced in addiction treatment? A study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine took the premise that meditation can help redirect attention and control impulses. In the study, nineteen alcohol-dependent persons participated in a 16-week study to determine if meditation is effective for relapse prevention. According to the study. While meditation wasn’t a substitute for addiction treatment, it was determined to help safeguard against relapse.
Creates A Defense Against Physical Pain
Not only can meditation help those suffering from acute chronic pain, but minimize the physical pain. A study conducted in 2010 round that those who practice Zen meditation are less sensitive to physical pain. Researchers at the University of Montreal exposed 13 Zen masters and 13 non-practitioners to a high degree of painful heat while measuring brain activity. It was reported that those who meditated felt less pain than those who didn’t. While their brains were still receiving signals of pain, it wasn’t translating heat to physical pain.
Prepares You to Deal with Stressful Events
Preparing for a sober holiday full of family and friends? Maybe you’re going out to a social event where there may be alcohol present. Before giving in to the wave of overwhelming feelings, try meditation. Studies have shown that meditation helps reprogram the brain so we’re better able to manage stress, become less reactive, and cope with everyday life stressors.
Reduces Heart Disease and Stroke
Not only does meditation for addiction have striking effects on our emotional and physical well-being, but has positive effects on the physical. According to a late 2012 study, more than 200 participants were asked to take a health education class or a Transcendental Meditation class. Following up over a five year period, researchers found that those who took the meditation class had a 48% reduction in their risk of heart attack and stroke.
Creates More Compassion
Overall, any type of meditation can have a deep and lasting impact on our well-being. It can help us gain new perspective, a deeper appreciation and gratitude towards our life, ultimately leading to higher levels of well-being.
At Lumiere Healing Centers, we use meditation for addiction to safeguard against relapse. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse disorder, contact us today at: 513-854-2197