The research around meditation has become extensive and the scientists are finding more and more reasons why meditation helps the human race. Meditation is no longer the practice of yogi’s, Buddhist monks, and hippies. It has become the one single thing that helps people relax and feel at peace with in. The power of the brain is immense and when it is used to calm and relax an addict it is being used to heal the brain that has been abused by drugs for far too long.
A monk was put into a brain scanner and his brain waves were measured while he meditated. This experiment showed how meditation works on the brain and actually changes the way the brain reacts to stress. There are many such research experiments and neuroscience is coming up with more and more reasons why meditation helps the brain function better every day.
When we think about meditation and recovery we think of how it can help an addict stay sober. Can it help an addict stay sober? I think it can. Addicts use drugs to calm themselves and feel “normal”. Their bodies and minds are addicted to the substance that reduces their anxiety or heightens their awareness. Meditation can do both of these. Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and heighten awareness.
I have used different apps and guided meditations to increase my ability to manage stress and reduce burnout. Taking time away from the stress of my day to breathe and calm my brain helps me to focus on allowing a Higher Power of my understanding to speak to me and guide my thoughts.
Meditation comes in a lot of forms. One of the things I have noticed is that in different times of my own life I have used different forms of meditations and they all have worked to help calm me and ease my stress. When I’m calm and less stressed I can show up for myself, my family, and my clients better.
I have also facilitated a guided meditation by using Tibetan singing bowls with the clients I work with. I have enjoyed watching the new experience make a difference in a person’s life and surprise a person because it helped them feel calm when they didn’t believe it would. Whenever we can use some form of meditation to teach the brain that it can have a positive experience without drugs we are increasing the addicts’ ability to stay clean and sober. We are also teaching the brain that it doesn’t need drugs to feel good. If the brain can be convinced the addict will come along too.
I recommend finding a type of meditation that works for you and giving it a try. There really is no wrong way to introduce personal meditation into your life.
Janet E. Bontrager – Primary Therapist