In early sobriety I noticed that my mind was always working overtime. It was very difficult to overcome the internal chatter, so I was constantly seeking methods for quieting it down and reducing stress; this is what initially attract me to meditation.
Meditation: What is It?
The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration single-pointed analysis, meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity. (From Wikipedia: Meditation)
The physical act of meditation generally consists of simply sitting quietly, focusing on your breathing, and/or a word or a phrase. There are many traditions and countless ways to practice meditation, and because of this a person new to meditation may wonder whether they are doing it correctly. I was actually afraid to start in fear that I was not going to be able to do it exactly as “prescribed.”
The most basic and universal of all meditation techniques, the breathing meditation is a great place to start your practice. You can start very slow, try to meditate for one minute the first time and when your mind wonders off, just pull it back in and focus back on your breathing. If the quiet is bothering you, try some calming music or a white noise of some type, like a humidifier, fan or sounds of water. (I find the fan in the bathroom is a good white noise.) Sit in a comfortable position. Follow your breathing. As you breathe, become aware of the rising and falling of your abdomen. Don’t make a conscious effort to change your breathing patterns, just breathe normally. Each time you meditate lengthen the period of your meditation, but do not jump too quickly; this is a learned skill that takes some practice.
Too Busy to Meditate? Think Again!
(excerpt from an article at Psychology Today.)
The benefits of meditation are many and varied from reducing stress, blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes to increasing one’s cognition and creativity. As well meditation decreases our need for sleep by heightening our concentration, allowing us to be more productive. Ray Kroc, who took over McDonald’s in its early days and built it into a business of outstanding success, once reported that he’d spontaneously fall into states of meditative reverie during the day and thus didn’t need a lot of sleep (Bennis 1984). Many people think that they have to run off to a monastery or spend hours a day sitting in a lotus position to receive these benefits. WRONG! If you feel overwhelmed with work, family and personal responsibilities here are three quick and easy meditations to help you release unwholesome emotions, shift your mood and improve your relationships adapted from my new book. -continue reading at Psychology Today: The Wise Open Mind
I know this all may sound a bit difficult, but keep an open mind and if you are determined to stay sober this is a great tool for dealing with cravings, restless sleep, and anxiety!
You may also find some inspiration on these sites:
Do you meditate? How has meditation helped you in recovery?
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