Mindfulness and Meditation

  • Mindfulness is the intentional practice of attending to the present moment, turning your attention fully to your senses: what you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear. It also involves acknowledging and appreciating what you sense or think without judgment. The emphasis on being present can draw your mind away from fear, pain, distressing thoughts, and negative perspectives on the past or future.
  • Meditation is the intentional practice of clearing your thoughts or focusing your attention entirely on a single word or phrase. You align your mind with the rhythm of your breathing as you sit still or perform physical movements (such as yoga poses). The goal of meditation is to absorb the silence around you (or your word or phrase) as you breathe in and out. Meditation on religious texts has been of particular use to ancient cultures and is still used today

What Are Mindfulness and Meditation?

 

What are mindfulness and meditation? These practices have been utilized in Eastern cultures for millennia and have gained traction in Western culture in recent decades.

 

  • Mindfulness is the intentional practice of attending to the present moment, turning your attention fully to your senses: what you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear. It also involves acknowledging and appreciating what you sense or think without judgment. The emphasis on being present can draw your mind away from fear, pain, distressing thoughts, and negative perspectives on the past or future.

 

  • Meditation is the intentional practice of clearing your thoughts or focusing your attention entirely on a single word or phrase. You align your mind with the rhythm of your breathing as you sit still or perform physical movements (such as yoga poses). The goal of meditation is to absorb the silence around you (or your word or phrase) as you breathe in and out. Meditation on religious texts has been of particular use to ancient cultures and is still used today. 

 

Mindfulness and meditation, while not the same, may often be practiced together. They can provide many physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits to those who practice them.

Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation

 

Many studies have recorded the positive results of mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is about reorienting our awareness and having an attitude of nonjudgment. A study published in the Clinical Psychology Review states, “By intentionally attending to experiences in a nonjudgmental and open manner, an individual may undergo a process of desensitization through which distressing sensations, thoughts and emotions that otherwise would be avoided become less distressing.” This suggests that neutral exposure to one’s present thoughts and feelings removes our perception of the pain that they might otherwise have caused. Practicing intentional observation seems to put us back in the seat of control versus feeling subject to our own sensations.

 

The same study highlights the unique qualities of meditation for improving personal well-being. It states, “Meditators reported significantly higher levels of mindfulness, self-compassion and overall sense of well-being, and significantly lower levels of psychological symptoms, rumination, thought suppression, fear of emotion, and difficulties with emotion regulation, compared to non-meditators, and changes in these variables were linearly associated with the extent of meditation practice.”

 

Meditation also improves blood flow to the brain, increases the amount of gray matter in the brain, and allows individuals to complete tasks more efficiently. The study reports that in a randomized, controlled trial of people with coronary heart disease, meditation led to a 48% reduction in deaths, heart attacks, and strokes over the course of five years.

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation include:

  • An immediate sense of stress relief
  • Reduced sensitivity to formerly distressing thoughts or feelings
  • An increased ability to regulate emotion
  • Greater self-compassion
  • Greater personal acceptance
  • Lower levels of psychological symptoms
  • Reduced fear of emotion
  • Greater ability to control your attention

 

  • Decreased depression
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Pain reduction (both physical and psychological)
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Increased melatonin
  • Increased energy
  • Improved memory

How Mindfulness and Meditation Are Used in Addiction Treatment

 

Mindfulness and meditation are often used or incorporated into other types of therapy for the treatment of addiction and mental health conditions. Given that they provide both physical and psychological benefits, require no equipment, and can be easily practiced and taught anywhere, they have become a unique vehicle for promoting and maintaining recovery.

 

A study published in Addiction Science and Clinical Practice states that mindfulness-based interventions “produce statistically significant effects on craving and substance misuse.” Because mindfulness and meditation allow individuals to reduce their pain and distress, turn their attention away from negative thoughts and cravings, and improve their overall sense of well-being, they are deeply useful during and after treatment settings. At BeWell Network, we teach mindfulness and meditation throughout our programs and encourage our clients to continue these practices for their own health. 

Help for Addiction at BeWell Network

BeWell Network is a family of evidence-based treatment centers. We help individuals suffering from addiction find the path to recovery, offering customized treatment experiences for the restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is seeking help for addiction, please get in touch with our team today. We can assess your situation and recommend treatment options, verifying your benefits for free. We have a no-hassle billing process and are committed to providing treatment designed specially for you.

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