Types of Meditation Used in Addiction Treatment - Mandala Healing Center
Meditation is a centuries-old technique that aims to bring the mind, body, and soul into synchronicity. There are many different types of meditation, but all are thought to reduce stress and anxiety, promote increased self-awareness, and improve overall well-being.
When most people think of meditation, they think of a person sitting in a cross-legged position with their eyes closed and their hands resting on their knees. This pose, called the lotus pose, is accompanied by deep, slow breathing and is often used in yoga practices. While this is one form of meditation, there are many other meditative practices out there.
Not only are there many different forms of meditation, but there are also many different applications of meditation. People may meditate as a way to start or end their day, as a means of coping with stress, or as a tool to improve their mental health. For example, meditation is often used in addiction treatment to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while reducing the risk of relapse.
There is no single meditative therapy that can cure addiction, however, different types of meditation serve a powerful purpose in addiction treatment.
Types of Meditation Used in Addiction Treatment
Meditation can help treat addiction in many ways. Not only can it help combat physical symptoms of withdrawal, but it can also help patients deal with emotional triggers, cravings, and painful feelings. Other ways meditation helps aid the recovery process include:[1,2]
- Reducing symptoms of PTSD, ADHD, depression, and anxiety
- Improving mood, concentration, focus, and energy levels
- Reducing stress, insomnia, and drug cravings
- Increasing self-awareness and motivation to stay sober
These benefits can be achieved by practicing any type of meditative technique. Six of the most popular types of meditation used during rehab are:
Mindfulness meditation emphasizes the idea of being mindful. Patients sit still or lay down in a comfortable position as they try to build their awareness around the current situation. Individuals are instructed to focus on their breathing, bodily sensations, thoughts, and experiences in the present moment. Rather than judging their thoughts or feelings, they try to allow these sensations to pass by breathing deeply. This practice is thought to relax the mind and help reduce self-judgment or self-criticism. Mindfulness can promote self-awareness, acceptance, and self-love.
A mantra is a meaningful sound, word, or short phrase that is repeated over and over with a specific intention. Mantra meditation is a technique where individuals are instructed to repeat a specific mantra, either silently to themselves or out loud. The mantra serves as an alternative to focused or rhythmic breathing and it works in the same way. The repetition allows people to focus on their immediate environment which can reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
Transcendental meditation (TM) is a technique that is the opposite of mindfulness and uses a silent mantra. Individuals sit in a comfortable position, repeat a mantra silently to themselves, focus completely on the mantra, and try to “transcend” above their current state. TM is a mixture of mantra meditation and spiritual meditation as it uses a mantra to help individuals achieve a spiritual experience. This technique can reduce stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and even symptoms of PTSD.
Spiritual meditation may be done alone, in a group, or with a spiritual advisor. This meditative technique is particularly popular in the Hindu, Taoism, and Christian religions and can be done in a place of worship or at home. Many people use essential oils like frankincense and sage during their experience. Some also incorporate prayers or mantras into the practice. The focus of this meditation is to use silence to connect with a higher power. By promoting spiritual growth, this technique can help individuals reduce their risk of relapse.
While most types of meditation involve being still, movement meditation involves gentle movements. This meditative technique is very versatile, and can include:
- Walking on the beach
- Walking through the woods
- Tai chi
People should pay attention to their surroundings and experience while moving. They should feel the sensations in their body, the air or wind on their skin, and the slow, focused movements they are making. People can also focus on smells, sounds, or tastes they experience.
Movement meditation increases self-awareness while reducing stress and anxiety.
Focused meditation is all about the senses. Patients are instructed to choose one of their five senses to focus on during the meditation. Individuals may focus on the sound of an instrument, the smell of an essential oil, or the feel of heat coming from a fireplace. The mind is supposed to drift then be brought back to the central point of focus. Focused meditation can improve mental clarity, reduce stress, and increase self-awareness.
Incorporate Meditation Into Your Recovery at Mandala Healing Center
Each of these six types of meditation can play a transformative role in a person’s recovery journey. Here at Mandala Healing Center, meditation is an important part of our treatment program.
“Once Mandala patients try meditation a few times, most feel considerably less anxious and better able to respond to stressful stimuli in a calmer, more appropriate manner. Many also say they are finally able to sleep better at night. Individuals who continue practicing mindfulness meditation find they have an easier time regulating their emotions and find that it helps reduce cravings for mind-altering substances. The improved wellness that patients feel throughout the day helps to maximize their chances for long-term recovery.”
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and ready to begin your recovery journey, our team is here to help. Call now to learn more about our treatment programs.