Even if you currently feel secure in your recovery, to increase your chances of long-term sobriety, you must continuously work on yourself. Triggers, temptations, and the stress of everyday life can derail your progress if you don’t make your recovery a priority. Introducing meditation into your everyday routine could be just what you need to stay focused on your addiction recovery.
Here are four ways in which meditation can help you safeguard your sobriety:
1. Meditating Reduces Stress
Stress is often unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to manage it. As one of the most common relapse triggers, understanding what causes you stress and how to effectively respond to it is crucial.
Through meditation, you can reach a stage of deep rest, which triggers the brain to release feel-good neurotransmitters. These chemicals are: dopamine, which regulates mood; serotonin, which eases tension and promotes relaxation; and endorphins, which promote overall well-being. Not only is meditation a great way to feel better at the moment, but studies have also shown that regularly practicing meditation can reprogram your brain to better cope with stress in the future.
2. Meditation Helps Prevent Burnout
An important thing to remember about recovery is that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Rebuilding your life into what you want it to be is exciting, but it also involves a lot of hard work. You can’t expect it to occur overnight. You can’t rush into living on your own, going back to work, getting into a relationship, or making any huge life decisions that could impact your progress. Taking on too much too soon can cause you to become overwhelmed, or worse, get burnt out. Meditation helps you to focus on the present by helping you feel satisfied with where you are in life at this very moment—it enables you to truly take your recovery one day at a time.
3. Meditating Leads to Self-Acceptance
You may have done things that you regret or are ashamed of while you were still drinking or using. Getting past those feelings and learning to love yourself is a critical part of recovery. Meditation can help you address those negative emotions and cultivate self-acceptance by teaching you to practice compassion and forgiveness towards yourself. It helps connect your mind, body, and spirit; you will also gain a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to grow into a better version of yourself.
4. Meditation Enhances Your Sense of Spirituality
If you’ve ever attended a 12 Step meeting, then you’ve heard how important it is to have a higher power in recovery. This is because finding your higher power connects you to something greater than yourself and helps you find your purpose. Figuring out what your higher power is can be challenging if you are not a religious or spiritual person; however, meditation helps by breaking down the walls between your preconceived notions and your spiritual self, allowing you to let go of everything that is holding you back.
Meditation can be challenging at first—sitting still is difficult, and there are so many sensations and feelings coming from the mind that it can feel almost impossible to focus. But with practice, you can master meditation and start strengthening your recovery.
Meditation Tips for Beginners:
- Find the Right Time: Many people like to start their day with a meditation session, but if your mornings are too hectic, then find the time that works best for your lifestyle. What’s important is that you stay consistent and make meditation a regular part of your self-care routine.
- Start Small: When you first start meditating, the idea of sitting down for 20 or 30 minutes alone with your thoughts and emotions can be intimidating. For beginners, starting small is best. Even as little as five to ten minutes can make a tremendous difference. And of course, the more comfortable you get with meditation, the more time you can add on.
- Try Different Types of Meditation: Just as there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for addiction, there is no one right way to meditate. So, try different types of meditation—sound healing, guided meditation, mantra meditation, or movement meditation—until you find what works best for you.