Why Does Meditation Help?

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Helping others requires us to take care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves involves many different caretaking strategies, but one of the ways we can take care of ourselves is through meditation. Meditation is not just about breathing or chanting, although that is often what people think of first. There are many different forms of meditation, and it is easy to find one to fit your needs.

Four Forms of Meditation

There are many different forms of meditation and different forms within these forms. Four of these include spiritual, movement, visual, and guided. Within each of these four forms, there are various alternatives for our mindful practices.

#1. Spiritual: Spiritual meditation can take the form of prayer or sitting in reflection. The main theme of this method is understanding that a Higher Power is capable of helping us and that we are listening to and leaning on a Higher Power for assistance. Using spiritual meditation can assist us in helping ourselves and others through 12-Step programs and help us more fully embrace our Higher Power.

#2. Movement: Movement-based meditation can be done in many ways. One of these methods is yoga. Tai chi and qi gong are also movement-based methods of meditation. Another method that is often used without even realizing is walking meditation. When we walk, do yoga, or any other physical activity, we might sink into the experience and allow ourselves to focus on our movements and our surroundings. The main element of movement meditation is experiencing the movement without judging it. Having an openness to the experience and actually experiencing the movement are the key elements to this form of meditation.

#3. Visual: Visual meditation takes many forms. We might visualize our thoughts floating away on a cloud, or down a stream. Some people visualize gardens or other safe spaces in which to hide while they take a moment to meditate. Sometimes, visualizing takes us out of our current circumstances and gives us space to experience life as we need to, so we can more easily face the reality of our situation. Many people do visualization meditation with their eyes closed.

#4. Guided: Guided meditation is exactly how it sounds. Guided meditation is meditation led by someone other than ourselves. Some people attend meditation circles or use an app or a recording to guide them in meditation. There are a variety of resources out there to guide us in meditation. Keeping an open mind while going through the meditation, rather than judging your experience, allows guided meditation to be more beneficial.

Looking at these four types of meditation, understand that we need to have some basic elements for meditation to be successful. We need to be comfortable, whether we are seated or doing movement-based meditation. Doing something painful either physically or psychologically is harmful and makes meditation difficult and ineffective. We need to have an open mind and avoid judging the experience as “good” or “bad.” Finally, we need to be patient with ourselves. Meditation is not a natural experience, and some people struggle to see the benefits right away.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is beneficial for many things. As we continue treating individuals in recovery and in pursuing our own best life, we will find that different methods of meditation work well for different experiences we are having. Research has shown the benefits of meditation do not stop with physical health—they extend to our emotional, mental, and spiritual health, as well.

Meditation is an excellent treatment for psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression. Meditation also helps with pain management and sleep. Furthermore, meditation can help us focus. Scientists suggest that meditation actually changes the brain. Meditation, when practiced effectively, helps promote healthier living and promotes a greater sense of well-being. According to some scientists, meditation might even slow aging

When using meditation, considering all aspects of our needs is important. Some practitioners in the mental health field feel that some people affected by trauma might struggle with meditation. Given this, understanding our own reticence to engage in a meditative practice might help us to identify the best meditation practice for our needs. Some people cannot comfortably close their eyes to practice meditation. The idea that we might need to close our eyes in some form of meditation should not deter us from looking for another form, or from practicing with our eyes open.

Meditation is different for everyone. When practiced regularly, many people report slower reaction times to stressful situations and increased resilience.

Impact of Meditation on Recovery

Recovery is the beginning of a new life and is a life-long journey. Meditation can help make recovery easier. Meditation slows our responses to stressors and gives us time to think through the situation and how we want to respond. Meditation also helps with managing the symptoms that might have started our clients’ roads into addiction. Understanding meditation helps us and our clients.

Meditation is beneficial in many different ways. It can be used at any time and in many different situations. Practicing meditation regularly improves your recovery and can help you become more resilient. At Jaywalker, we offer meditation as part of our method of assisting you in your recovery. Whether it be pain, anxiety, depression, a need to sleep, or a need to focus, meditation has shown to be effective at managing all of these symptoms while also helping people overcome alcohol and/or substance abuse. At Jaywalker, we make room for meditation every day, ensuring it is a part of our daily routine. If you or someone you know needs help overcoming behaviors relative to alcohol and/or substance use, Jaywalker can help. You and/or your clients can get the help and guidance deserved. Beginning recovery for your client can start now. Reach out to us at Jaywalker by calling (866) 529-9255 and begin the process today.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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