You don’t have to be an opiate addict to make use of meditation to help you get over your addiction. Whether you’re addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, or food, here's how meditation can help you overcome it.
* Activates Your Happiness Center – Meditation can activate the prefrontal cortex in your brain, which is often not active enough during the crash you experience when you think you need more of the substance you’re addicted to. Meditating can help your body release more of the "happy hormones" that help you feel good, thus helping you resist having more of the addictive substance or doing the addictive behavior.
* Trains Your Brain – When you meditate, you are really training your brain to change your brainwaves to be in a more active-conscious state called alpha theta. According to brain research conducted by neuroscientists, this is the state your brain needs to be in to beat addiction.
* Helps You Mute the Urge Impulse – Having meditation training helps you to traverse the urge feeling without having to succumb to it. You can experience it, acknowledge it, and then put yourself in power of it instead of relenting and doing it without thought.
* Releases Healthier Dopamine – Drugs, or any addictive behavior, releases a rush of dopamine but so does meditation. An addict can use meditation techniques to release healthier levels of dopamine to help them avoid the addictive substance.
Keep in mind that if you are truly physically addicted to any substance, you may need to slowly reduce the amount you use of that substance (even while using meditation) in order to avoid any physical withdrawal symptoms that could be dangerous. But even so, using meditation techniques can help make the process easier and longer lasting. Studies have shown that after three years, addicted people who continue to use meditation are more likely to remain on the wagon than those who don’t.
Next time, we'll look at how meditation can help if you have ADHD symptoms.