What Meditation Can Do for Recovery

A woman is practicing meditation as an activity to help with overall wellness during recovery.

The Eleventh Step of the 12-Steps states, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.” Regardless of your belief system or whether or not you follow or believe in the 12-Steps, meditating is beneficial in recovery. It can be a religious/spiritual practice and a secular practice. The goal of the activity is to allow your mind to relax and take a break from its usual train of thought. Recovering from an addiction is more than just about quitting use of the substance. In order for the chances of best success your mindset needs to be taken care of.

Different Meditation Methods

Meditation can be achieved in a number of different ways. The best form of meditation for you will be one that you enjoy, as this will improve your likelihood of maintaining meditation as a habit.  Below are some ways that you can think about incorporating meditation into your daily practice.

  • Mindfulness
    Mindfulness can help you stay present in your surroundings and aware of events occurring around you. Mindfulness can help with feeling overwhelmed, as it draws attention outside of yourself.
  • Breath Awareness
    Breath awareness involves focusing on your breathing. The focus on the breathing allows the mind to rest from other thoughts that can consume the mind. Spending even just a few minutes in your day to focus solely on your breathing can ease stress and help with mental clarity.
  • Kundalini Yoga
    For those who do not like to sit still, kundalini yoga combines mindful breathing and mantras with the movements through various yoga poses. While kundalini yoga is good for the mind, it also benefits the body just as other yoga practices do.
  • Adult Coloring
    Psychologists say that adult coloring may result in benefits similar to those achieved through other meditation technique because it allows the mind to relax. A form of relaxed, focused activity, coloring also produces artwork that can be cherished or shared with others.

The Benefits of Meditating in Recovery

While meditation can provide many benefits to any practitioner, mindfulness and meditation can be especially beneficial to those who are on their journey through recovery.

  • Improved Physical Health
    Meditating can improve your physical health by lowering blood pressure, reducing pain, and increasing energy due to its relaxing nature. Improved physical health can have cascading benefits as well, such as increased confidence and self-esteem. Good physical health and improved function can improve recovery from the physical health effects of sustained substance use.
  • Improved Psychological Health
    Meditation can increase the production of serotonin – a neurotransmitter which contributes to feelings of positivity or happiness. The relaxing nature of the activity can also help reduce anxiety, improve focus, and reduce stress. Improved mental states can decrease likelihood of relapse from triggers related to psychological distress.
  • Helps with Personal Spirituality
    Spirituality does not have anything to do with religion or belief in any sort of a Higher Power. It has to do with getting in touch with your own soul or personal spirit. Meditation can help you to look within yourself, take inventory of your life and build relationships with others in a meaningful way.
  • Coping Mechanism
    Many of those recovering from substance use have learned to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism when faced with negative feelings. As you move through your recovery journey, you will aim to find healthier behaviors to cope from stress. Meditation can both be used as a preventative strategy to reduce those feelings that trigger a need to cope, and as a coping mechanism itself.