For some of us, meditation is not something we have ever considered doing. Although meditation has its roots in Eastern religion, it has become incredibly popular amongst all cultures as a health practice, without any spiritual connotations.
Still, it can be a hard sell for those of us who have never tried it. Perhaps that is only because we may not understand the incredible benefits of mindfulness meditation, especially in recovery.
Myths About Meditation
Society has created myths about meditation, much the same way that there is so much stigma about substance abuse. For example, there is a belief that meditation is only used for spiritual enlightenment.
Actually, there are probably more people who use meditation for peace and health purposes than any type of spiritual purposes now.
Other myths are that meditation takes a long time to learn, or that it requires rigid practices that must be followed. Neither of those is true.
Meditation is something that can be learned in a matter of minutes and used immediately. While images of a specific meditation seating position may come to mind because of movies or television, actually, meditation is about us being comfortable first and foremost.
Whatever myths about meditation we may have, the best way to prove them is to give it a try.
Mindfulness is so much more than a buzzword for mental health. It is the art of bringing our minds to the present, withholding judgment, and being non-reactive.
We are attentive and our perception is limited to that moment, focusing on our own breathing and noticing only what is there, shoving away our internal dialogue, judgments, distractions, and anything else that is not in the moment.
If that sounds like a bunch of psychobabble, think about it: when we use substances, where is our mind? Escapism, checked out, anywhere but here and now.
What are the things that get us in trouble with relationships, at work, and elsewhere? When it comes to our emotions, we tend to react to everything. This is the exact opposite of mindfulness.
Within mindfulness, we train our bodies to relax and our minds to take us to the present. At that moment, we give ourselves the opportunity to breathe, to feel peace, to relax.
As we are healing from substance use, this can be a place we may never have been before. When we practice mindfulness, it can be powerful in getting past cravings, overcoming stress or emotional reactions, and other roadblocks we may find in our getting and staying sober.
There is something simply beautiful about the word “peace”. For many of us, it may be something we have never known. Whether we grew up in dysfunctional or abusive situations, or we began our substance use early and have continued for many years, no matter where our lives may have taken us, peace can seem like a warm blanket or a gentle hug from a loved one that we may not have experienced in a long time, if ever.
Meditation brings us peace, it is one of the first and most important benefits people realize in treatment. The ability to feel okay in our bodies, even if only for a short time.
The ability to sit still, something many of us can only imagine. The ability to focus and not be in a constant state of emotional reaction. The ability to feel peace, even for a few minutes per day, is worth the effort of learning mindfulness meditation.
In addition to the short-term benefits like peace, relaxation, and focus, mindfulness meditation becomes more powerful the more we use it. We learn to increase the cognitive control in our brains, meaning that we are able to bring our minds back from the reactive, judgmental habits we previously used.
Using mindfulness meditation is like exercising our muscles, only it is our mind that is strengthened. The more we use meditation consistently, the more power and control we give back to our minds.
We can repair the reward pathway to our brain, which is the physiological reason we feel so compelled to use substances. Additionally, we can use mindfulness meditation as a way to successfully navigate cravings without turning to our substances again.
This is a powerful way to prevent relapse, something we can do virtually anywhere or at any time to keep us from returning to our old habits.
Mindfulness Meditation as a Tool
Our resistance to meditation may be based on preconceived notions. But let’s face it: in substance use, we have felt judgment based on similar notions.
We need help, and we need to be willing to try anything. Mindfulness meditation is not just anything. It is a tool that helps us beginning immediately within treatment, and expands into our lives as a permanent method for us to stay well.
We can heal our bodies and minds with as little as two minutes at a time, with the added benefits of peace and healing.
Discover the power of mindfulness meditation at AToN Center. Call (888) 535-1516 today to learn the power that you can give to yourself simply and effectively. We can help teach you this and other valuable tools to help you recover your life and stay on the path of healing and wellness.