Many people assume meditation is performed by sitting in one place and forcing their minds to go completely blank and quiet. For that reason, many people see it as something that they will never be able to or don’t even want to try. However, recovering addicts are often told to enlarge their prayer and meditation life to stay sober. So if someone is one of those people that view meditation as some unobtainable art, chances are, they will most likely never give it a shot. However, there are many kinds of meditation, and it has been proven as an effective holistic therapy. At Harmony Hills, we understand that not every type of therapy will be effective for every client. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. But understanding the different kinds of meditation may help individuals discover an approach that helps them heal and continue to make a lasting recovery.
Kinds of Meditation Used in Mental Health Treatment
When the original 100 wrote the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the idea of transcendental meditation wasn’t really a well-known thing back then. So meditation was more along the lines of its dictionary definition: “Close or Continued thought; the turning or revolving of a subject in mind; serious contemplation.”
So, rather than the largely thought of the purpose of meditation being that we completely shut the mind off, the writers of the Big Book actually meant something entirely different. This should be somewhat of a relief to many people out there, especially for those who have an overactive mind. Going forward, we will talk about a couple of different ways to meditate, so feel free to give them all a shot and see what works best for you and your recovery.
Every day, make it a habit to do a short morning reading with your coffee, tea, etc. While you are reading, try to find something in it that really speaks to you. Reread it if you didn’t find it the first time.
- When you are done reading, take a few deep breaths.
- On a piece of paper or in a journal, write a little bit on what you got from the reading. Write about how you can implicate that in your life. Write about wanting to replace an old idea with the one you just read about.
- Truthfully, you can write whatever you want. The point here is that you are taking a set amount of time to focus on a topic, roll it around in your mind, relate to it, and understand its gravity.
- Voila, serious contemplation, i.e., meditation
Goals Lists in Meditation
Let’s face it, some people are list people, and others are not. However, studies show that people who create a goals list with attainable and measurable results end up being more successful, relaxed, and happy.
- Every morning, write out a few things you need and want to accomplish for the day.
- They can be as simple as making the bed and getting to work on time, to an hour-by-hour breakdown of the hectic schedule.
- It can also be beneficial to try to throw in new things each day, such as “trying to find God in one person today” or “remembering to pause when agitated.”
- The point here is, we are focusing our attention on the day ahead, being mindful of our time, and preparing for what comes next.
- There is also a whole lot of gratification in crossing something off of the list that was completed.
Breathing Exercises and Guided Meditation
Breathing comes so naturally to us that we often don’t even pay attention to it. When we learn to start noticing our breath throughout the day and using it as a tool, the advantages are mind-blowing.
- If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, agitated, etc., take a few moments to close your eyes and focus on your breathing throughout your day.
- A helpful guide is to take a deep nasal to inhale for four seconds, hold that breath for three seconds, and then slowly exhale through the mouth for 6 seconds.
- This works because it increases oxygen flow to the brain, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which produces a state of calmness.
Some people want to practice seated, silent meditation but get frustrated by the chatter in their brains. A good way to counteract this issue is by listening to and following along with guided meditations. They can be found all over the internet, there are hundreds of apps (I personally like the one called Insight Timer), and they really help.
- It seems like having someone else’s voice lead you through the meditation often helps keep you on track.
- It is beneficial if you choose a meditation aimed toward a certain emotional or mental issue you are struggling with at the time. For example, they have meditations on acceptance, compassion, and even self-care.
If you know you want to give this a shot, it is a great practice in discipline, self-compassion, and patience. No one gets good at this in a week, a month, or sometimes even a year, but each person who practices regularly will find that they feel more confident and comfortable with silent meditation with time and diligence.
- It is most important to remember. No human being is capable of completely shutting off the brain. So don’t try to do this.
- Instead, focus your attention on what those thoughts consist of, acknowledge them, and then send them away.
- It is often described as the sky, with your thoughts being clouds. Instead of focusing on the clouds, focus on the space in between the clouds. When something pops up in your mind, trying to force it away will make you think about it more, so instead, acknowledge that you had a thought, and then try to refocus on the space in between the thought gently.
- It sounds like many hooplas, but the more you practice, the more the space between the clouds/thoughts increases, and the thoughts decrease.
For most of us, although we may think it is, the point of meditation is NOT to become enlightened Gurus. It is more or less to help us understand ourselves better.
The main goal here is not to silence the mind but to see the mind for what it is. When you notice that the same sort of thinking pops up (fear, self-doubt, anxieties, etc.), you will start to understand why you behave the way you do in the outside world.
Discover What Harmony Hills Has to Offer
When working on a recovery program, meditation helps identify where individuals fall away from living close to their Higher Power’s will. For those not working in a 12-Step program, meditation can still be an effective therapy. It is a way to calm anxiety, learn to control and understand one’s emotions, and improve mental health. At Harmony Hills, our team can guide individuals through the kinds of meditation that would be most effective for their needs. Reach out to us today at 855.494.0357 to learn more.