Meditation has been proven to be an effective component of mindfulness therapy for the treatment of numerous addictive behaviors, ranging from eating disorders to substance abuse. Studies have shown that there is a significant link between meditation and addiction, demonstrating that meditation can help minimize addictive behaviors.
Meditation requires individuals to manage their negative thoughts and relax the body, thus helping to lessen the stress that often triggers addictive behaviors. Meditation helps alleviate addiction thought patterns and promote clarity, especially in terms of being in the present.
At The Hall Center (www.thehallcenter.com), a mindful medicine practice in Santa Monica, CA, doctors have developed a holistic treatment plan for numerous addictions for which meditation is a vital component. The Center works with patients to develop a meditation option that is appropriate for each individual. For example, one can meditate in silence, with music or “reading” their breathing techniques, which prompts individuals to be aware of the breathing by counting each breath. Chanting words, mantras or songs can also help keep the mind focused in meditation.
The following are some easy tips that I use when teaching newcomers how to meditate:
*Set aside time daily. For beginners, start by setting aside 15 to 20 minutes per day. If you prefer, you can split your time to 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night. The timing isn’t as important as just doing it regularly. Regardless, it’s best to do your meditation practice in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. You can sit in a chair or lie down, whichever feels most comfortable. When you are ready, increase your time to 20 minutes in the a.m. and 20 minutes at night.
*Use a mantra. A mantra (like “Om” or “Om Shanti” or “I am at Peace”) can give you something to focus on during meditation. Just repeat your mantra on both the inhale and exhale. If you prefer not to use a mantra, it is perfectly O.K.
*Focus on your breath. Your breath is another tool that helps you focus. And, it’s also important for stress reduction (stress is one of the leading causes of addiction). Try using four counts on your inhale and eight counts on your exhale. Your breath should not be strained in any way, so if you need to work up to eight counts, that’s fine. Lengthening the exhale helps to calm you. It’s normal for the mind to wander away from breath counting. When you notice this happening, simply bring your attention back to the breath.
*Try guided meditation. Many people do better when someone else guides them on their meditation journey. The Mentors Channel (mentorchanel.com) provides a host of guidance for those that prefer it. The idea is to see yourself free of addiction in your mind, and to align the conscious and unconscious mind to agree on the changes we want to apply to our behavior.
*Try tools to monitor your stress. The WellBe (thewellbe.com) is the first bracelet that monitors your stress and emotional wellness in the short and long term. The bracelet monitors who and what activities in your life trigger emotional stress, gives notifications when your stress levels rise and provides real-time solutions in the form of meditation, focused breathing and mindful exercises.
Doron Libshtein is the mentor to the world’s top mentors. He is also a prolific author and strategic entrepreneur, seeking to foster personal growth using the potential of the digital space. As chairman and founder of Mentors Channel (www.mentorschannel.com) and The WellBe (www.thewellbe.com), Libschtein has established a thriving interactive community where the world’s best mentors and coaches help millions of people live fuller, richer lives.