In recent years meditation has gained a great degree of scientific validity. This practice has been studied in clinical settings by hundreds of researchers. What they have found is that regular mediation has dozens of benefits for both mind and body.
One of the most important benefits that researchers have discovered is that meditation is a valid therapy for people who are struggling with substance abuse . If you’re having a hard time staying sober or going through recovery, then learning to meditate is one of the best things you’ll ever do. There are a number of ways that meditation helps during detox substance abuse treatment and recovery. Here are a few of them:
How Meditation Helps With Substance Abuse
1: Meditation builds focus and concentration
According to a 2011 study by the Harvard Medical School, meditation is able to improve your ability to process new information. It was found that regular meditation increased grey matter in the part of your brain which handles learning, memory and emotional regulation. What this basically means is that mediation boosts your ability to concentrate.
2: Meditation improves self-esteem and self-awareness
Meditation helps to slow your mind down. It also allows you to reflect on things and think deeply. Mindfulness gives you the ability to examine your thoughts and feelings without judging them. Ultimately this helps to improve your self-esteem and self-awareness.
3: Meditation reduces stress.
One of the biggest benefits of meditation is stress reduction. Scientists have conclusively shown that meditation reduces cortisol and helps relax you. It has a calming effect, and allows you to shift your focus away from stressful thoughts. Routine meditation also helps you avoid burnout and reduces feelings of depression and overwhelm.
3: Meditation reduces anxiety and depression.
By focusing your mind on the present you reduce anxious thoughts. Doing this also helps to relieve depression. Research has found that meditation reduces the symptoms of depression  including insomnia, loss of appetite, apathy and hopelessness. Not only that, according to researchers and Stanford University, meditation also helps with social anxiety.
4: Meditation helps to control pain.
Mediation has long been recommended as part of a pain relief program. One study found that meditation had considerable pain reduction effects for people with acute and chronic pain. Essentially, meditation helps to keep your mind off the feelings of pain, and this allows you to cope better.
5: Meditation helps with substance abuse.
Here’s the big one. According to another study by neuroscientists, meditation can alter brain receptors which respond to drugs and alcohol. This helps to reduce cravings and the symptoms of withdrawal. Meditation also helps to increase awareness of cravings and allows you to deal with them better.
This is really why meditation is so powerful for people with substance abuse problems. You see, what you have to realize is that ultimately addiction is a disease of the mind. Those intense feelings of craving and addiction are not actually real. They are simply a symptom of your disease.
By staying mindful you can allow them to arise and then fade away. You will realize that those negative feelings are not actually a part of you. They are simply an entity inside of your mind which you can easily deal with – provided you really want to.
With routine meditation you are able to do this. You can take control of your mind. You can take control of those voices in your head which try to rationalize the idea of taking more substances. Those voices that chip away at you day by day until your finally give in. With meditation you can deal with those negative emotions which wear away at your soul until you finally give up on staying sober.
This is critically important because ultimately sobriety is about self-control. There is no magic pill or therapy. It doesn’t matter how many times you go to rehab or how many NA meetings you attend. At the end of the day it is up to you to stay in control and refuse to give into the urges to use.
This is probably something which you don’t want to be told. But whether you like it or not, this is the truth. Unless you are able to stay in control of yourself there is very little chance of beating your addiction.
The bottom line is this: meditation helps you develop many positive attributes which are needed to battle substance addiction. What you also have to realize is that beating substance abuse is about becoming a new and better person. You have to leave your old self behind and develop into somebody who has the strength to simply say no.
All the benefits that you get with meditation will help you do this. You’re going to feel the low self-esteem and guilt that comes with being an addict. You’re going to feel stressed out when navigating your new sober life. There will be times when you feel anxious, depressed, or sad. There are times when you’ll feel the pain of cravings and withdrawal. Meditation helps to relieve all of these problems. Which is why it is such a powerful aid and therapy when fighting substance abuse.
Remember, all of this is proven by science. This is no magic pill cure. It actually works. Which is why all addicts should learn how to meditate and do it every day of their lives. It doesn’t matter how far down the road of recovery you are. Whether it’s been a day, a month or years. Meditation improves every aspect of your wellbeing, and will help you stay clean and sober for the rest of your life.
What you may also find is that meditation is far more enjoyable than substance abuse. Once you’ve practiced it for long enough, you’ll discover that meditation creates feelings of bliss, wellbeing and deep joy.
This means that you should eventually develop a positive addiction to meditation. You will find yourself looking forward to your daily session, and should eventually come to realize that meditation is vastly preferable to abusing substances.
Vince Tint is an entrepreneur, creative thinker, and mental-health advocate. He is a passionate digital marketing consultant that specializes digital-first approach for healthcare and medical companies. He regularly contributes his byline to outlets including Entrepreneur, AdWeek, Inc., FastCompany, and many more.