Oct 18, 2019

5 Simple Forms of Meditation that can Aid your Recovery

There is a common misconception that meditation is about escaping our reality and tuning everything else out around us. When in fact, meditation is all about becoming mindful in regards to your surroundings, identifying and letting go of your problems, and finding peace despite the chaos of our lives. Mindfulness is key when practicing any form of meditation. Mindfulness will aid you to foster feelings of compassion, love, and forgiveness as well as promoting relaxation and creating internal energy.
If you are a recovering addict, meditation can prove to be extremely helpful for many aspects of your recovery. Meditation focuses heavily on mindfulness, which asks that you become aware and acknowledge your surroundings, emotions, and thoughts. As a recovering addict, you will eventually experience triggers or cravings. Meditation allows you to notice your cravings as soon as they take effect, stopping them from causing an unnecessary relapse. While we fight our cravings through meditation, we are building our brain’s muscle memory to ignore addictive thoughts and behaviors. Addicts often forget to destress, leading to a relapse. Meditation is one of the most effective and natural ways to reduce stress, which is important while trying to maintain long-term sobriety.

1) Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is one of the most commonly practiced forms of meditation. It urges people to remain aware and present in the current moment in order to reduce fixation on negative emotions, improve focus and memory, reduce impulsive action, and improve relationships.

Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere; in line at the store, at work or school, alone in your home, and even surrounded by other people. All you need to do in order to practice mindfulness meditation is to remain focused on your surroundings, acknowledge the way it makes you feel, focus on breath control, and let go of any negativity. 

2) Metta Meditation

Metta Meditation, also known as loving-kindness meditation, is centered around cultivating positive emotions such as love, kindness, and acceptance towards all beings. This form of meditation is very simple to practice, but the benefits are ceaseless. Metta meditation has been linked to reducing symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. It can benefit those affected by reducing anger, frustration, resentment, and personal conflict.

 First, you need to find a place to sit down, close your eyes, and imagine what you want your life to look like. Then, you formulate your wishes into three phrases. If you want to follow this meditation traditionally, these three phrases are typical “May I be healthy and strong”, “May I be happy”, and “May I be filled with ease”. After directing these affirmations towards yourself, direct them towards the people around you, or a loved one. It is also helpful to aim these positive affirmations towards someone we have a conflict with, in order to end resentments or negative feelings.

3) Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is the practice of being guided by a narrator, in person or on a recording, in order to reach a specific goal. In most cases, the goal is to relax and destress. During a guided meditation, the narrator will instruct you to relax your body and mind. After you are relaxed and have found an even pattern of breathing, the narrator will instruct you to visualize the change that you seek.

Guided meditation is found to work because your brain does not always distinguish the real from the imaginary. When you imagine a positive change or goal, you can begin to see it materializing in your real life. Guided meditation allows people who have a harder time staying focused on their own, to sit back and let another person guide you through the experience.

4) Gazing Meditation

Gazing meditation, also known as Trataka, is a form of meditation practiced with your eyes open. While focusing on one object in front of you (traditionally a candle), your mind can begin to solely focus on one thing, ultimately raising your awareness, utilizing focused mindfulness, and shutting out any distracting thoughts. After you are completely focused on the candle (or object of your choice), you can close your eyes and begin internally focusing on the image of the candle.

The goal of Trataka is to invoke feelings of peace and heighten spirituality by focusing only on a candle. There has not been extensive research on Trataka, but practitioners report the following benefits:
     Improved concentration, memory, and willpower
     Improved cognitive function and visualization skills
     Helping with insomnia
     Clearing mental and emotional distress
     Bringing suppressed memories to light
     Calming anxiety
     Enhancing self-confidence and patience

5) Insight Meditation

Insight meditation, also referred to as Vipassana, is a Buddhist practice used to improve consciousness and attention to the true nature of existence. Buddhists believe that this was the meditation used by the Buddha himself. It is said that Vipassana allows you to become intimate with your true self, releases stress, and helps you comprehend the human condition.

To practice Vipassana, you sit in a quiet and peaceful place, close your eyes, breathe naturally, and focus on your abdomen. Pay attention to the rising and falling of your abdomen as you breathe naturally, improving awareness of every sensation that your body experiences. Be sure to shut off all outside thoughts, solely focusing on breathing and the sensations related. One of the most important parts of this practice is to label every action that comes into your focus. If you hear a noise, acknowledge it and repeat in your head, “hearing, hearing, hearing…”. When you do this, you are practicing mindfulness and allowing yourself to remain focused while acknowledging your surroundings.

Author Bio:
Maya Kelley is a writer in the recovery community. She has found passion in life by using her struggles and triumphs to help other men and women.

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