Meditation has become very trendy in the past few years. People who ask for advice concerning their mental health are likely to hear “meditate” along with “do yoga” or “drink more water”. However, despite the fact that it has become a cliché and that people have mistakenly recommended it in place of mental health treatment, meditation is a practice that truly has many benefits. Meditation may be seen as a practice that is apt only for monks or people who are otherwise engaged in spiritual practices or practices like yoga and veganism, but the reality is that most people can meditate effectively and learn this skill quickly enough to feel the benefits.
For people who struggle with addiction, meditation can be an especially powerful tool to maintain sobriety and experience other benefits associated with it. Meditation in the modern world, despite its Buddhist roots, is no longer a merely spiritual practice but has become a health practice as well.
What is meditation? The term is an umbrella term.
That means that it is a wide concept that includes a variety of different practices but the key similarity between them is the goal. Meditation is the conscious focusing of one’s attention to quiet the mind. In our minds, there is usually a lot going on. We think about what we are going to do tomorrow, fantasize about what might happen, regret the past, remember, plan, dialogue, feel insecure… Meditation is meant to cut this stream for a brief period of time and allow us to experience a state of deep concentration.
At first, focusing attention on a single thing can be very challenging, as the mind will tend to wander a lot, so the person also practices bringing their attention back gently to the thing they are focusing on.
The types of meditation might be determined by different things but one common distinction is what the person focuses on. The most common type of meditation involves focusing on one’s breathing, without trying to change the breathing pattern. Another type of meditation involves focusing on a mantra, phrase or word. Other types involve considering one’s thoughts and focusing attention on a specific type of thoughts, for instance, loving kindness for other people. Mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, is distinct because it involves focusing on what is going on in the present, including one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations without attempting to clear the mind. There are many different types of meditation out there for people to try. When selecting a type of meditation, the person might choose the one that appeals to them, that is in line with their beliefs, or that seems especially beneficial as it cultivates something the person finds lacking. However, all types of meditation are beneficial. Some types, like mindfulness meditation, are supported by more scientific evidence but, in general, meditation has many scientifically proven benefits.
The first type of benefits it has are associated with physical health. Meditation appears to promote physical well-being, a slower ageing process, and even longevity. In terms of mental health, it also contributes to happiness and greater life satisfaction, while also being associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and distress. Meditation promotes a state of deep relaxation that is beneficial for situations where negative emotions or pain become excessive. For people with addiction, it can provide also the benefit of greater control and introspection. Meditation is a practice that puts people more in touch with their inner selves, thoughts, and feelings, and also gives the practice to control these thoughts, which can be helpful for managing cravings, anxiety, or self-critical ideas. Meditation’s benefits are accumulative, so the more you practice, the more you benefit.
To get started, you might choose a guided meditation practice. Let a professional walk you through your meditation, and these types of guides are very easy to find online. Move to a place where you won’t be distrubed and sit comfortably. Make sure that there are limited distractions. Then, close your eyes and start.
Meditation is a very beneficial practice that has a low entry barrier. You just need to start, and even five minutes of meditation can be good for you. Through a constant practice, you will likely reap a variety of benefits.