Using Transcendental Meditation to Support Your Recovery
Various eastern spiritual and health practices have gained significant popularity in the West since the 1960s, including yoga, tai chi, martial arts, and meditation. The primary purpose behind these practices, and of particular interest to recovering addicts struggling with cravings and temptations, is the mastery of one’s own mind and thought processes. Meditation is the conscious relaxing of your mind and body while remaining completely aware.
This process has been turned into an art form and lifelong pursuit in the Buddhist countries of Asia where an initiate works to maintain a higher state of mind and peaceful disposition through extensive body movements and mental techniques aimed at quieting the thoughts that race through your mind in favor of more aware conscious brain activity. Meditation usually scares people off with visions of the monk in the lotus position chanting himself into a trance. In reality, meditation is simply the quieting of the mind and relaxing of the body.
Known benefits of Transcendental Meditation, or TM as it’s abbreviated by practitioners, include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower counts of cortisol, the stress hormone
- Relief of chronic pain
- Alleviation of depression and anxiety
- Reduced cardiovascular stress and risk
- Increased alertness and mindfulness
- Increased intelligence and faster learning
- Deeper quality of sleep and rest
- More positive attitude and outlook on life
These side effects seem too good to be true just for sitting quietly and breathing for a few minutes every day but that just goes to show you how powerful true mental relaxation can be. We overlook our mental health and stress levels in Western culture and could do well to add a bit more meditation into our daily routines.
For recovering addicts, a steady practice of meditation (mixed with prayer if you’re so inclined) can help to steady the will and focus the mind away from nagging cravings and temptations. As a side effect of daily TM practice, your mastery of your own thoughts will help to stay the course during the more difficult days of recovery.
Mind over matter and Will over addiction.