Mindfulness Meditation, The Brain & Addiction

Whether we are doing something good and worthwhile with our lives or not, time never waits but keeps flowing. Not only does time flow unhindered, but correspondingly our life too keeps moving onward all the time. If something has gone wrong, we cannot turn back time and try again. In that sense, there is no genuine second chance. Hence, it is crucial for a spiritual practitioner constantly to examine his or her attitudes and actions. If we examine ourselves every day with mindfulness and mental alertness, checking our thoughts, motivations, and their manifestations in external behavior, a possibility for change and self-improvement can open within us.” - Dalai Lama

Various studies have shown the positive effects on the brain when practicing meditation. In fact, a study done last year by Harvard shows that in just eight weeks, practicing meditation can rebuild gray matter in the brain. Gray matter is what processes information. Mindfulness meditation, specifically, helps improve the way the brain functions on a day-to-day basis from enhancing connectivity between brain regions to reduction in the size of one’s amygdala which can help control a person’s “fight or flight” response when fear or stress is introduced.

Interestingly enough practicing mindfulness meditation can eliminate the need of medication for depression and anxiety. A review from Johns Hopkins studied the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to greatly reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain.

A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University shows that meditation, even in small isolated amounts, can help relieve stress. Other studies conducted by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital confirm these results.

Another study shows that, given its positive effects on the self-control regions of the brain, mindfulness meditation can help people recover from various addictions. While meditation is no cure for addiction or other health issues, it is a great form of therapy. It is also teaching us a lot about how the brain functions work and offers important neurological relief for people who suffer from a variety of mental disorders.

Researchers at the University of Washington studied 286 people who successfully completed an addiction treatment program, and randomly placed them into one of three groups: mindfulness meditation, 12-step program, or relapse-prevention program. Researchers found that those who completed a treatment program that incorporated mindfulness meditation was more effective in preventing relapses over a long period of time, compared to traditional 12-step treatment and programs developed to prevent relapse. After twelve months of treatment, approximately 9% of those who participated that completed a treatment program which incorporated mindfulness meditation reported relapse. This is in comparison to 17% relapse rate in a traditional 12-step treatment and relapse prevention programs.

The greatest part of mindfulness meditation is that it doesn’t cost anything except time and there are no negative side effects from practicing it! If it’s something you’d like to try, there a many different resources available but in the meantime, check out this video: Beginning Mindfulness Meditation Instruction and Practice

Seeking Treatment

The important thing in all of this is that you seek help for your drug addiction. Do not let fear keep you from the life you have always wanted. You do not need to fight this disease alone and any and all concerns that you have can be addressed as you move through the process of recovery. So call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center today, at 1-866-771-7091. We are standing by to help you finally overcome your addiction.