I am a therapist who has been working with addictions for over 13 years. I have always looked for tools and techniques to teach clients ways they can live the life they want. Meditation is one of these techniques. I started transcendental meditation when I was 12 years old and have used breathing techniques and visualizations to help clients feel less depressed, stressed, and anxious and it has been known to improve sleep. The previous symptoms are experienced by most addicts. There is more and more research on the short and long term benefits of meditation. So often a client has been disconnected from themselves due to their use. Meditation helps people reconnect and feel more comfortable within themselves.
It was thought that meditation calmed down the brain but what brain science has found is that it actually increases activity to many areas including the part of the brain that deals with optimism and appreciation. Have you ever seen an angry monk? Meditation calms the emotional part of the brain and increases the thinking part of the brain. No, not the laying in bed going over your to-do list but the problem solving part of the brain. If you use a Mantra which just mean a sacred word, and repeat it with each breath then you keep your left brain (mathematical and logical side) busy so your right brain (the intuitive, creative side) can be more active to help find answers to any problems your client may be experiencing. A mantra also help people stay in the moment so they are not bringing up pain from the past or anxiety from the future. Meditation is a practice. I hope you all choose to show up for practice.
Stuart Cline MA, LPCC,LADAC, NMCPGC, CADS
Stuart Cline is a therapist in private practice in Albuquerque and offering individual and group counseling. If interested in more information go to Psychology Today and type in zip code 87107 (next to find a therapist.)