Meditation can be a powerful tool to help someone through addiction recovery. by strengthening their mind and allowing them to embrace the present moment without worrying about the past or future.
Several types of meditation can be beneficial for anyone going through addiction recovery, and there is no need to limit oneself to only partaking in a single type of meditation.
This article will focus on three meditation techniques:
- Breathwork meditation
- Guided imagery meditation
- Soundbath meditation
What is Meditation?
Many people mistakenly believe that meditation is about wholly clearing the mind. In fact, meditation does not require the participant to clear their mind or stop thinking about the past, present, or future.
Instead, meditation is focused on observing present thoughts and feelings without judgment. Through meditation, people can gain more awareness and insight into what is happening inside their brains.
By taking time out to be still and exist in the moment, a person can better understand what their brain wants to focus on. This allows a meditation practitioner to achieve mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state in which a person is fully present in the moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Meditation and mindfulness are often associated with each other because it is possible to achieve mindfulness through regular meditation practice.
How Does Meditation Aid Addiction Recovery?
Regularly practicing meditation is essential for achieving mindfulness. Studies have shown that mindfulness can help people recovering from addiction(s) recognize their triggers, thereby preventing damaging and potentially life-threatening relapses.
This is important because researchers estimate that as many as 60 percent of people who partake in traditional intervention programs for behavioral disorders relapse within 12 months of completing treatment.
Mindfulness has also been positively connected to emotional regulation. People who regularly practice mindfulness meditation are more likely to be able to identify their emotions early so they can react to them in constructive rather than destructive, ways.
Types of Meditation
There are many types of meditation, and all of them can be beneficial for someone going through addiction recovery. So, it is essential to try different kinds of meditation to determine what does and doesn’t work for an individual.
While some types of meditation may be more beneficial to do in a larger group setting, others can easily be done at home in isolation.
The following three types of meditation provide a solid starting point for anyone looking for more ways to enhance their recovery journey.
In general, breathwork meditation focuses on breathing deeply to get nutrient-rich oxygen to all brain and body parts. This practice dates back millennia and can be done from anywhere. By slowing down and focusing on the breath, a person can find a deeper connection between their mind and body.
Holotropic breathwork meditation is a specific type of breathwork meditation that has been shown to bring helpful temperament change to practitioners that can lead to greater self-awareness. It was developed in the 1970s by researchers who wanted to recreate the experience of achieving enlightenment without using substances (i.e., LSD).
Because holotropic breathwork meditation requires a person to breathe as heavily and quickly as possible, it can lead to some potentially harmful side effects. That’s why it is typically done in a larger group setting where a facilitator leads.
Participants are divided into groups of two. One person is the “breather,” meaning they are doing the breathwork. The other person is the “sitter,” meaning they are not doing breathwork but are instead sitting by to monitor the breather’s safety.
Many people find that holotropic breathwork can help them feel calm and reconnect to their mind and body. It should always be done under the guidance of an experienced practitioner.
Guided Imagery Meditation
Guided imagery meditation is a calming technique that can help someone daydream about a peaceful place. It involves all five of the senses–sight, taste, touch, sound, and smell. Through guided meditation, a person can feel as if they genuinely are visiting another place without leaving their mat.
Studies have shown that people who frequently practice guided imagery meditation have increased emotional regulation and decreased stress and anxiety. Thus, it can be a particularly beneficial tool for navigating a stressful time, such as going through addiction recovery.
People new to guided imagery meditation should start by attending an in-person or virtual guided meditation session. There are also videos and podcasts available that can help.
With practice, a person can learn how to do their own guided imagery meditation anytime they need an escape.
Soundbath meditation doesn’t require any water or a bathtub. Instead, it refers to a sound therapy practice where a participant lies down in a comfortable position (called Savasana in yoga practices) and immerses themselves in specific music.
There is evidence that sound therapy can alter the brain function of people living with neurological disorders, including depression. Researchers found that listening to specific types of music can have a similar effect on a person’s brain as a pill but without any harmful side effects.
Participants need to use specific music for soundbath meditation that includes healing instruments, such as singing bowls, chimes, tuning forms, singing bowls, and sometimes the human voice. There is no melody or repetition for the brain to catch on to. Instead, the goal is for the music to allow the brain to let go completely.
Soundbath music can be found online, making it easy for anyone to try a soundbath from the comfort of their home. However, facilitated soundbath sessions can be powerful, especially for those just starting.
One-on-one soundbath sessions can help the participant maximize their benefit by getting a customized experience. Group soundbath sessions can help participants feel connected to each other.
Find More Addiction Recovery Resources
Addiction recovery is an ongoing process that often requires taking various approaches. Introducing meditation into an addiction recovery program can help people gain more control over their minds and bodies.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction reach out to Inland Detox today. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our program.