By: Eric Moore
August 14, 2017

The Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness for Relapse Prevention

Table of Contents

There are countless benefits of meditation for people in recovery, a release from tension or unpleasant emotions being one of them. Stress and anxiety have led to so many people reverting back to what is comfortable for them which is usually their drug of choice. With meditation, practice and consistency is key for results.

For some reason, there are more women than men interested and practicing meditation.  Let’s learn how you start and more about the benefits of meditation on people in recovery?

Set your intention: What do you want to accomplish from this meditation?

Whether it’s to reduce stress, improve sleep patterns, manage unpleasant emotions, improve focus and/or attention start out with something simple. After setting your intention set a schedule to meditate and commit to it. You can start out with as little as five minutes twice a week and work up from there. It is important that you not judge yourself or your practice as you continue with your schedule. No one is going to judge you so you shouldn’t judge yourself either. There is no right wrong way of meditating. It is a freeing experience to meditate. Push yourself to follow through with your commitment, whatever that may be.

1. Understanding and Creating Awareness Around Your Emotions.

Men, especially, have been taught over time not to show emotions and have become accustomed to disguise their emotions as something different than it really is. Many have difficulty identifying any other emotions than “anger” or “joy”. Meditation is a great tool to assist in the exploration process of those emotions. However, it is best to have someone there for guidance and discussion around what emotions may arise and identification of those emotions. This will create an awareness around emotional triggers and provide insight into habitual patterns.

Once we recognize habitual patterns that have been harmful to ourselves or others and understand the emotions leading to those behaviors we have the opportunity to make different choices leading to less harmful patterns of behavior. Then and only then can we be free of ourselves and patterns preventing us from further growth.

2. Helps You Cope with Life’s Daily Anxieties and Stresses

Stress has been mentioned as one of the leading reasons for people in recovery to relapse. This stress may be caused by daily responsibilities like holding down a job, supporting a family, income security, etc. Symptoms of stress can lead to a lack of sleep uncontrollable worry, fatigue, difficulties with anger, interpersonal conflict, or even a general dissatisfaction with a current state of existence and ultimately relapse.

Practicing meditation as a man in recovery can help to redirect and reduce the stress and anxiety to a more productive behavior. It helps us feel empowered by understanding where these issues stem from and move forward in a mindful way not an emotional reactive one.

3. Leave Work at Work and Be Present at Home When at Home

People, especially people in recovery, find it challenging to transition from work to home. Thinking about the “to do list” can increase stress before even walking through the door. If you have kids at home or even pets that need someone to care for them sometimes going home can feel overwhelming. Any meditation, according to your weekly commitment time, can work wonders for how you respond to your little one’s needs and family/home life.

4. Reduces Effects of Social Norms AKA Don’t Care What Others Think

Our societal norms have created a habitual pattern of interpersonal comparisons. Men tend to identify with other men and compare their own success based on what other men have accomplished. Many times, it is easy to feel pressured and inadequate because we see ourselves as less than based on our accomplishments. Social media has also influenced the way we view what constitutes success. Comparing to our friends’ vacations, joyful moments, kids, significant other, etc. even though we all know people post happy moments, not their unpleasant ones.

Meditation can assist to refocus your attention to the present moment and what values matter to you, lessening the sense of pressure to “be better”.