Meditation could become an integral part of your recovery in Florida drug rehab. It is much more than sitting idly with your eyes closed. Done well, meditation can create changes in the brain that last a lifetime, at least as long as you continue the practice.
Meditation on its own and through meditation practice in treatment helps recovering addicts take control. What is more, this control becomes less and less of a chore over time. You might fidget after three minutes in meditation when you begin. A year from now, you will not. With regular practice, control could become how your brain naturally operates, and that means drugs or alcohol will have fewer chances to grab you and hold on in the future.
Many Addicts Praise Meditation as Pivotal in Recovery
If you meet a handful of drug or alcohol addicts in recovery, chances are at least one of them will have a meditation story. It is a common part of many residential treatment programs. However, even without formal meditation practice, a lot of people in addiction recovery find it on their own, even if they are not looking for it.
One such person is Headspace editorial contributor, Irina Gonzalez. In her accounting of alcohol addiction and recovery, meditation evolved organically.
In treatment, Gonzalez used coloring books to help tame her thoughts during quiet, alone time. Coloring evolved into journaling. Both activities helped her understand the importance of mindfulness, and that led her to meditation.
Meditation is not about the destination. It is the journey that matters most. There is a self-discovery in mindfulness that the noise of everyday life too easily mutes and overrides. Every step of the way helps a person in recovery learn a little more and work out healthy ways to cope with bad feelings as well as poor habits.
Meditation Is Not Just Sitting Cross-Legged on the Floor
There is a common misconception about meditation. While a lot of people who practice do, indeed, sit cross-legged on the floor, there is more than one way to find a meditative state. For some, sitting on the edge of the sea and watching the waves roll in is a meditative practice. In Irina’s case, coloring served as a gateway to meditation, even if she did not recognize it as such at the time.
Ronald Alexander, Ph.D., writes for Psychology Today that meditation can be a powerful tool in one of the most important steps in treatment, namely, finding the reasons why.
He says addiction arises from an unfulfilled need or the “wanting mind.” Life would be better if you had this thing or if your situation changed in a certain way. Meditation and mindfulness practice can actually retrain your brain to a healthier state where desire does not rule.
What is more interesting is that it does not matter how short your attention span is in the beginning. If you think of the mind as a muscle, the more you practice, the stronger it will be. It does not matter if you cannot sustain focus for more than five minutes on the first try. With regular practice, you will improve. Every act that you make toward mindfulness is another exercise.
It Affects the Mind in Several Positive Ways
Meditation does not just help slow down the mind and give you a sense of peace. It may produce physical changes in the amygdala, which is the emotion center of the brain.
According to joint research by several institutions, including MIT and Harvard, published at the National Institutes of Health website, meditation practice could improve optimism, creativity, curiosity, and the general sense of well-being. That is because practice strengthens the part of the brain responsible for those positive experiences.
Alexander says that it is possible to rewire the brain through meditation and build “new neural connections among brain cells.” He likens it to “adding more RAM to a computer.” He goes on to explain that meditation and mindfulness ignite the left-prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for positive states of mind and reactions to the environment. A positive mind can help prevent relapse, and the effects get stronger the more that you practice.
By strengthening that part of the brain, you gain the power to overcome sadness, defeatist emotions, anxiety, and numerous other negative issues. He says the same effects might also “be achieved through other practices” such as yoga in drug treatment.
Meditation may be a spiritual practice, but it does not necessarily have to be. If you think it is is just for serious yogis or yuppies wearing expensive Lululemon yoga pants, you are thinking about it from the wrong direction. Meditation is not who practices or why; it is what is to be gained and how that can help you stay clean and sober for life.
Meditation is just one part of a dynamic, customized drug addiction treatment program. If you or any of your loved ones are suffering from addiction, contact us and learn how meditation works together with other therapies to build a stronger, drug-free mind and body.