Using Meditation for Addiction Cravings
Every one of us has experienced a craving so intense that it becomes very difficult to ignore. From chocolate and exercise to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, cravings occur. They happen in random places or those that are all too familiar. While some cravings pose little to no serious consequences, drug addiction cravings can trigger a relapse in minutes. Rehabs in Thailand, like Serenity Chiang Rai, have a strong emphasis on curbing addiction cravings. Meditation, specifically the type which has been modified for addicts, is one way that proves to be an effective method to control addiction cravings and thereby prevent a relapse.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice which originates from East Asian cultures. For thousands of years mediation has been a way of life in India, China and Nepal. During the 20th century it was introduced to the West. Nowadays, it’s practiced by individuals, medical centers, prisons and addiction rehab facilities. In Thailand, meditation is used by local people to find balance. The original ideology behind meditation is to connect with the spiritual and physical self as well as, universal life forces. Today, around the world, meditation is used for a number of aliments including the relief of stress and anxiety, to decrease symptoms of depression and to curb addiction cravings. When you meditate for addiction cravings, you focus your attention and thoughts on the present moment. You start by focusing on your breathing and some sort of image. You do your best to ignore and quiet the rapid thoughts in the mind; continuously bringing your focus back to the here and now. As you practice using meditation for addiction cravings, you will start to become more mindful and aware of your own self as well as your surrounding environment. You will find the ability to concentrate and observe your cravings, but without feeling encouraged to give into them.
Why Are Cravings so Strong? Cravings are strong because they are deeply rooted in the subconscious mind after continually satisfying the body with a certain substance, thing or activity. In the case of addiction, you should also consider tolerances to drugs or alcohol which to contribute to cravings. Once the subconscious mind expects that desired substance (or thing, or activity), breaking free can be extremely difficult.
There are also strong associations between cravings and the reward system. Each of us will experience a sort of reward on a regular basis. For example, when you’re craving chocolate and consume the sweet, you feel an utter satisfaction. Your craving is also subsided. With addictions, cravings are extremely strong and often the addict believes the only way to reach their reward is through using. They may think nothing else can get them to that state.
Benefits of Using Meditation for Addiction Cravings There are numerous benefits for using meditation for addiction cravings and can include:
• It helps you notice cravings before they take hold of you and encompass each and every thought.
• It can strengthen your attention and concentration skills allowing you to let go of everlasting thoughts and mindsets.
• You will be prepared to experience cravings, but not react to them.
• You’ll be more apt to cope with stress, anxiety, anger, tension or depression making it less likely to result to drug use as a crutch.
• You can observe your feelings and thoughts without becoming attached to them. You will start to see the patterns, behaviors and habits connected to your addictive behavior; with this awareness, you will gain control.
• You can look honestly at your past and present and see the impact your behavior has had on you and loved ones.
• When combined with CBT and psychotherapy, meditation can help you to take responsibility for yourself.
• You can meditate anywhere, at anytime. Even 5 or 10 minutes is beneficial.
How to Meditate for Addiction Cravings
A rehab, support group, therapist or meditation specialist can help to teach the practice in supportive manner. However, if you are feeling the approach of strong cravings, you can take the time now to meditate. Here is an easy step-by-step process:
- Find a space somewhere you can be completely comfortable in. This can be indoors or outdoors.
- Sit down with good posture. You can place something underneath your sitting bones to lift you gently from the floor, straightening your back.
- Close your eyes and start to breathe from the abdomen using your nose. Try to avoid lifting up your shoulders when you breathe; rather feel the breath coming from around your navel. Feel it rise up through your body. Notice the lungs expanding.
- When you’re ready exhale all of your breath through the nose.
- Continue this controlled, deep breathing.
When your thoughts begin to wander, or you are thinking about the craving, gently nudge your mind from it and return to your breath. As you practice meditation for addiction cravings on a regular basis, you can start to ask yourself the following questions:
• Why were you thinking about cravings despite meditating?
• Were you able to recognize emotions which occurred as a result of the cravings?
• How did this make you feel?
These small questions will help you to take control of yourself and show you that you are not your cravings. You can use meditation not only for cravings, but for anything you feel is having a control over your life. Binaural beats or some kind of other relaxing music can be played to help you better focus. If you find yourself unable to sit still, you can also go for a walk in a quiet place, go swimming or lie down. There is no wrong way to meditate.
Additional Ways to Curb Addiction Cravings
If you feel like meditation is not working or right for you, there are other ways to decrease cravings of drugs and alcohol. Yoga, exercise, drawing, writing, cooking a nice meal, singing, dancing, playing with a pet or going to a support group can all be very effective ways to combat cravings. Every person is different so what works well for you may not be the first choice for another.
Getting Help for an Addiction Serenity Chiang Rai’s rehab treatment program in Thailand includes mindfulness meditation as well as, CBT, yoga, individual counselling, exercise, journaling, group therapy and more all integrated with a 12 step foundation. This allows us to tackle the addiction, underlying core issues, emotional hurdles, cravings and the overall recovery. If you would like to know more about our leading rehab center, contact Serenity Chiang Rai today.