Meditation is a powerful tool, allowing us to decompress and “reset” ourselves when we feel stress or discomfort. It’s a vital component of recovery that allows us to process just about everything we experience.
Meditating once or twice a day for 10-20 minutes is a good way to start. Find a quiet place where you can retreat and sit uninterrupted for a short while.
The heart of meditation is mindfulness of our breathing. We start by taking long, slow breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. This is called circular breathing. This serves to relax our bodies and our minds.
As we inhale and exhale, we begin to recognize our physical state. We pay attention to what our bodies tell us, relaxing our limbs and muscles, starting from our toes and working upward through the top of our head. If our mind begins to wander, we gently return our focus to our breathing. We refrain from judging ourselves for losing our concentration; this is entirely normal. Each time our thoughts drift away from our breath, we gently refocus.
Many people use a mantra – a repetitive word or phrase that helps our focus. A mantra can be helpful but is not necessary for successful meditation.
As we relax, we take notice of our thoughts and feelings as they arise. We acknowledge our feeling without judgment, then release them as we exhale. We don’t become attached to a particular thought or feeling; instead, we recognize that whatever we’re experiencing at the moment will soon pass and make way for another sensation.
Over time, as we practice meditation, we develop mindfulness. We’re able to stay present at the moment. Our minds remain clear for longer and longer periods during the day, and we become calmer. Our heart no longer races, and neither do our thoughts. We’re less apt to judge ourselves and others. We become less rigid in our thinking and more compassionate. Life becomes more manageable.
We soon realize we’ve discovered a new feeling: Serenity. We’re learning to meet life’s ups and downs with equanimity and enjoy life’s gifts daily. Life is good.
Change happens one step at a time. Design For Change is a full continuum of care options providing the hope that is promised in recovery. As a refuge for addicts seeking change, our residential programs help change lives.