Getting sober is not a decision to take lightly. In fact, it can often be one of the hardest choices and lifestyle shifts that someone may ever adopt. Luckily, meditation can help.
After mood-altering substances are taken away from someone in recovery, they often don’t know what to do when they begin to fully experience their emotions. The recovering addict can find their emotions overwhelming as they have long been suppressed. In the past, this person might have reached for drugs and alcohol in order to find relief from their emotions. It’s normal for these people to have never developed the proper coping skills to face their feelings in a healthy manner.
What types of meditation are there?
According to Medical News Today there are seven types of meditation:
Loving-Kindness Meditation (also known as Metta meditation)
This meditation is specifically designed for one to let go of resentments towards themselves and others. Its main purpose is to develop a sense of love and kindness to everyone, friends, enemies and even the meditator themselves. During this practice, people send messages of love to other people in the world and repeat these lines over and over again. It’s especially helpful for resentments and anger.
Body scan meditation is a guide that helps someone do a complete body check to see where there may be areas of tension or pain. We don’t always realize what we hold onto when it comes to our physiological responses to stress, and it isn’t a secret that stress can be held in certain parts of our bodies.
Mindfulness meditation is all about staying aware of the present moment and trying to completely ignore the past and future. Allowing yourself to live in the present moment eliminates anxiety, depression, resentment, fear, and helps focus.
Breath Awareness Meditation
Breath Awareness meditation is a type of meditation that actually belongs under the category of Mindfulness Meditation. As its name suggests, it revolves mainly around bringing your attention back to your breath in the current moment. Developing this gentle focus allows for immense stress relief. People tend to like it because there is always something for the mind to come back to when it drifts.
Kundalini Yoga is a type of meditation that involves movement (yoga poses), mantras, and deep breathing.
This type of meditation was developed by Buddhist monks and also involves staying mindful of the thoughts that drift in and out of our brains without necessarily attaching ourselves to them.
According to Medical News Today, this last form of meditation is “a spiritual form of meditation where practitioners remain seated and breathe slowly. The goal is to transcend or rise above the person’s current state of being.”
Every single form of meditation is believed to, in some way, help relieve human suffering. Emotions such as anxiety, depression, fear, grief, anger, amongst many more, are all examples of feelings that can trigger addicts to use drugs or drink. They’re also all emotions that have been proven to be relieved by all types of meditation.
How does it help?
Each meditation method has its own specific benefits and the reasons why they tend to work for each individual. However, some common threads between among them are practicing gentleness with our thoughts, letting go of our thoughts, being mindful of what thoughts pop in, and deep breathing. These are all known to help relaxation. The act of deep breathing for a decent period of time is also known to help slow the heart rate and increase the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, which promotes stress regulation.
How to practice it?
There are no “set rules” on how to practice meditation, even if there are traditional ways of practicing each type. A journey through learning meditation is personal and dependent on the individual. Though it’s fairly well agreed upon in spiritual communities that the more often you can incorporate a consistent practice into your routine, the better your results will be. Keep in mind, however, that a little bit of time taken aside for meditation practice is still better than no time taken aside at all.
It’s often wise to start with a teacher trained in guiding meditations as to be sure that you are learning the basics of whatever type of meditation you choose correctly. If you don’t have access to a teacher or don’t have the funds to attend a meditation class, there are limitless amounts of meditation informational sources on the internet that will provide you with a great basic knowledge of the discipline.
It’s important to be patient with yourself when first learning anything, especially when training your mind to meditate. It takes a ton of practice to learn all that each meditation type entails. Remember, you won’t be perfect at this, but being perfect isn’t the goal of learning how to meditate. The goal of learning how to meditate is whatever you wish it to be. By promoting relaxation and calming anxiety, holistic meditation can be used to aid someone on their recovery journey.
Remember, meditation isn’t a quick-fix or the ultimate “end-all-be-all”. It can, however, deeply enrich someone’s sobriety and help them cope with their conscious state. Plus, achieving a state of contentment with your everyday consciousness is what getting sober is all about.