The practice of guided meditation has become quite popular with the rise of mental health awareness. It is not only soothing, but is also one of the most effective methods of decompressing from daily stresses like work, school, or strained relationships. In recent years, it has also become one of the best holistic coping techniques for those in addiction recovery. In fact, guided meditations for rehab patients are becoming more widely available in treatment facilities across the country.
What is Guided Meditation?
Guided meditation is a method of deep relaxation that allows you to clear your mind, invite positive vibes, and convert negative thoughts or feelings. Unlike other forms of meditation, however, guided meditation involves an instructor or narrator. During guided meditation, the instructor helps you relax through imagery-rich instructions, affirmations, or even storytelling.
Since the brain can build a personal experience through imagination, imagery is an essential component of guided meditation. In fact, the lack of distinction between real and imagined experiences is why we can remember vivid dreams or sometimes carry false memories. When instructors provide imagery, they offer a scene for your mind to explore. So, utilizing imagery through guided meditation allows you to shift your focus and create a positive new experience in a safe, imagined space.
The Basics of Guided Meditation
Each session is different; the imagery that the instructor provides will depend on what you want out of your meditative journey. For example, if you are using guided meditation to unwind after a stressful day, the narrator may invite you to imagine walking along a beach. Then, as you meditate, you may experience calming pseudo-sensations like sand beneath your feet or seafoam tickling your toes.
No matter what the imagery is, guided meditations typically follow this format:
- The instructor asks you to sit comfortably or even lie down, depending on the meditative exercise.
- You listen as the instructor guides you through a series of calming visualizations. If you’re listening to an audio session, there may even be soothing background sounds to match the scene.
- Your mind relaxes, and your body releases your harbored stress.
- The instructor continues to guide you through your meditative journey until the session is complete.
When you reach deep relaxation, your subconscious mind will be more open to and accepting of positivity. Your instructor will use this opportunity to shift your focus onto the aspects of your life that you’d like to improve or develop. These might include specific goals like practicing self-affirmation or building a stronger sense of personal empowerment (“I am…,” “I can…,” “I will…,” etc.). More abstract ideas like spiritual exploration, emotional balance, or general positive thinking can also be addressed through guided meditation.
Why Use Guided Meditations for Rehab?
Like many other holistic methods, guided meditation has been utilized in drug and alcohol addiction recovery for several years. In fact, research has shown that using holistic therapies in conjunction with traditional clinical practices yields higher chances of long-term sobriety for patients in recovery. One study from 2007 revealed that addiction recovery patients who included regular meditation in their treatment plans developed stronger coping skills than those who did not. Additionally, meditation helped them gain a better understanding of their personal triggers, allowing them to develop more effective relapse prevention plans.
Other studies have shown that guided meditation assists in the release of dopamine, the reward or “feel-good” hormone. These and other hormones, like oxytocin, bring about feelings of relaxation and tranquility— the very same feelings that many former users might have been chasing through substance use.
Other Benefits of Guided Meditations for Rehab and Recovery
Most guided meditations take place in a class with an instructor. However, there are also tapes and audio files widely available for those who want to practice from the comfort of home. Many individuals in recovery opt for the latter once treatment is complete. In fact, the stress reduction techniques used in guided meditation have made it very popular within the recovery community. Some other benefits of guided meditations for rehab patient health include:
- reduced anxiety and fear
- better stress management
- increased sense of proactivity
- improved sense of self-control
- healthy behavior and thought patterns
- fewer mood swings or bouts of depression
There are several physical benefits of guided meditation for rehab as well. These typically include:
- improved pain management
- strengthened immune system
- fewer headaches or migraines
- reduced insomnia and healthier sleep cycles
- the natural release of dopamine and other “feel-good” hormones
Overall, guided meditations for rehab can help patients:
- manage stress
- establish their coping skills
- improve all areas of their health
- reinforce their relapse prevention plans
- explore and strengthen their new, sober selves
Guided Meditations for Rehab at Lumiere Healing Centers
At Lumiere Healing Centers, our team of licensed professionals combines holistic methods and medical practices to ensure the best possible recovery experience for each patient. We strongly encourage using guided meditations for rehab and recommend it for any personalized recovery plan. If you have any questions about relapse prevention planning or stress management in recovery, please call us at (513) 909-2225. We are available 24/7 for all of your addiction recovery needs.