There are many coping skills and tools I have learned while in recovery from addiction. Some of these I learned in rehab, some I learned in 12-step fellowships, and some I learned from fellow people in recovery. Some of these tools I come to find that even “normies” take advantage of. One these tools (and one of the most important) is meditation, which has been life-changing for me. Meditation is so important that I think it should be taught in every rehab and recommended by every doctor, for addicts and non-addicts alike. It keeps my head on straight and reduces depression, anxiety, and stress. It is by far one of the best ways to practice self-care every day. If you are like me when I first got sober, you might have no idea what meditation is or how to do it. I thought it was something that monks did and took many years to accomplish. This is just a myth. Meditation is sobriety should be a major part of every person’s program.
Getting started with meditation in sobriety can start RIGHT NOW. It is easy and it won’t take long before you start to see the benefits. I find that starting the day with a simple meditation has the biggest impact on my day-to-day life. You will begin to think clearer, your reactions will be more thoughtful, and you will find more energy when you get up and start the day (especially if you aren’t a morning person). Here are some simple tips to get your meditation routine up and running… (or preferably sitting):
10 Conscious Breaths
This was the very first meditation tip I ever got. Someone who was very experienced in meditation told me to just start every morning with 10 conscious breaths as soon as I got up. It’s really simple. Just lay down or sit comfortably and take slow deep breaths, trying to focus only on your breath. It might sound stupid, BUT TRUST ME. Even starting every morning with 10 conscious breaths will begin to show effects if you do it consistently.
After a week of 10 conscious breath, see if you can amp it up to 2 minutes. Just sit and breath deeply, still focusing on the breath. Set a timer if you can so you don’t have to keep opening your eyes and looking at the clock. Try to increase your meditation time by 2 minutes every week. If you find this is too difficult; then slow down! One of the most important things is to not put pressure on yourself – this will ruin the point of meditation. Always do what feels comfortable for you.
Don’t Judge Yourself
When meditation, never judge yourself for “doing it wrong.” The point of meditation is to relax completely. It is human nature for our minds to wander – our brains are designed to think! If you find yourself thinking about school or work, or whether you put down the toilet seat, don’t judge yourself for losing focus on your breath. Simply recognize that you have begun to have wandering thoughts, and slowly bring your attention back to your breath. Meditation isn’t about how long you can have a “blank mind,” but rather how many times you can bring your mind back to the present moment. Never look at your thoughts as a nuisance or as an “intruder,” welcome your thoughts, they are your friend. It is important to keep a long and peaceful attitude. Don’t worry about whether you are “doing it wrong,” just smile and bring attention back to your breath. I will give you full disclosure that mediation is NOT about clearing the mind. This is impossible. Meditation is about being mindful of the present moment. It’s about trying to focus on the NOW, and appreciating it; rather than focusing on what needs to be done and stressing about it. Rarely do we get to appreciate the exact moment we are in; and that’s what meditation is all about!
Try Guided Meditation
There are many guided meditations out there. A simple YouTube search will show you thousands of types of guided meditations. These can be extremely useful for the beginner, or even the experienced meditator. These can be extremely relaxing and help you focus on the moment. One of the best types of guided meditations is body scans. They help you focus on the breath and other parts of your body. When I do these, I always feel extremely relaxed afterward. Body scan guided meditations can be especially useful for sleep. Other guided meditations help you focus on sounds and smells around you. These really help promote mindfulness because sounds and smells only take place in the present moment. Present moment mindfulness is what helps ease your mind of stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts. So go out, give it a try! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain with a simple meditation routine.
How Pinnacle Can Help
One of the most effective ways to beat addiction is to start recovery at an addiction treatment center. Pinnacle Treatment Center is a comprehensive program that addresses the root causes of addiction and how to overcome it. Pinnacle provides intensive therapy along with lectures and exercises for life skills and relapse prevention. Patients will be involved in group therapy sessions as well as 12-step groups like NA and AA. Pinnacle will even help manage aftercare planning to ensure their patients remain on the right path after treatment. A well-rounded program like this is the best way to start recovery today and take control of your life. Call us today at 1-866-301-0573.