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This unusual method I speak of is effective in decreasing addiction problems and also improves health and general well being. It is mindfulness meditation. There are many types of meditation but researchers know that mindfulness meditation can decrease intrusive thoughts and cravings as well as decrease levels of stress, anxiety, depression and anger.1
Studies show that individuals who practice mindfulness meditation feel less stressed, depressed or anxious and instead feel more happy, grateful, hopeful, content and satisfied.2
One of the most important factors in using mindfulness meditation for addiction recovery is the increased ability to recognize and manage emotions, which plays a crucial role in recovery.3 Remember, research indicates that relapse is commonly due to emotional states, not physical dependency as once thought.
People who have used mindfulness meditation have shown an increased ability to control their emotional reactions and have increased attention as well.4
Meditation used for addictions and compulsive behaviors are particularly effective because it employs the “non-reactivity” principle. This unusual technique teaches us to just observe cravings as they happen, and “not react” but rather just acknowledge it and observe it. By doing this you may find cravings will weaken. Just acknowledging and observing these intrusive thoughts, then re-directing your attention elsewhere can dramatically lessen the frequency and intensity of cravings over time because this is a learning process that is rewiring the brain.
This may be an unusual way to respond to cravings because most people probably try to fight or suppress them. However, research indicates that suppressing cravings may actually make matters worse because it can feed the cravings.5 Instead, the Truth Of Addiction Program teaches just to observe these cravings in a particular way.
Are cravings really “bad?”
Most people automatically attach a belief to a craving. The common belief is that it is “bad.” But really, cravings or urges are neither good or bad, they are just passing thoughts and feelings. Intrusive thoughts are false messages sent from the brain telling you that you need to fulfill this urge, when really you don’t.
Mindfulness meditation strengthens the executive function in the brain. The prefrontal cortex (executive control) is activated during mindfulness practices. When we have greater executive control, we can plan, assess and evaluate more clearly. Research indicates that even one’s memory can improve. You may find yourself making better decisions. You are becoming aware of your own thought process and you are increasing your ability to pay attention. Certain mindfulness practices are very empowering.
“We need to change how we react to our cravings and thoughts…”
People usually associate an urge or craving as being “bad” because in the past it has usually resulted in destructive behaviors and/or followed with negative consequences. Because of this, we react in a panic or try to fight or suppress our cravings. This is not the proper way to deal with cravings.
A craving and urge is really just a physiological and psychological experience. Physiological experiences from cravings or urges may be manifested through increased heart rate or perspiration, while the psychological feeling is often manifested as panic or thinking you must hurry and do something with the craving right away.
In mindfulness we try to suspend any judgment about the craving or urge. In mindfulness we try to exist with that craving instead of trying to react to it in a panic or try to fight or flee it. Being non-judgmental in mindfulness means to not attach meaning to the craving or urge. Labeling an urge as “bad” as many people do, is a judgment.
Mindfulness is a way of having a 3rd person perspective and an awareness about yourself. By thinking you are a bad person because you had a bad thought is a judgment and is not true. You are not your thought. Your limbic system is acting out and sending you false messages.
Identifying with these false messages is maladaptive, it leads to depression and suffering. Thoughts may creep right into our consciousness without warning. Realize that it isn’t you. Stop thinking “I am a bad person for thinking this.” You are not your thought and your thought is not you.
Have you ever tried NOT to think about something? What happens? You usually end up thinking about it more!
By paying attention to these urges or cravings, notice what happens physiologically in the body. Your heart rate may increase. Perspiration or fear and panic may follow the thought.
However, after practicing mindfulness a person may see that their cravings and urges come, and they may feel intense at first, but then it subsides quickly and goes away. This is because when we are okay with the craving or intrusive thought and see it as it really is, just a false message, we stop feeding it. When we are properly trained in mindfulness meditation we learn not to react and this weakens the neural connections as well as activates our executive control (prefrontal cortex) in the brain.
But mindfulness needs to be done properly, the Truth Of Addiction system comes with an audio series which will show you how, step-by-step.
Research indicates that people often relapse because of emotional states and intrusive thoughts that make them feel stressed out, fatigued, lonely, bored, frustrated or tired, all of which certain mindfulness meditation has shown to improve.6
– A. Scott Roberts
M.S. studies in Rehabilitation Counseling, B.S. Psychology, A. S. Business
Addiction Specialist and Researcher
Another great article from A. Scott Roberts. He is an expert in Addictions and overcoming them for good. Thanks for taking the time to read! Please don’t forget to leave your comment below and hit share! Thanks. You are are the best!References 1. Baer, R. A. 2006. “Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches.” Clinician’s Guide to Evidence Base and Applications. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Baer, R. A. 2003. “Mindfulness Training as Clinical Intervention: A Conceptual and Empirical Review.” Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. 10:125–143.
2. Baer, R. A. 2006. “Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches.” Clinician’s Guide to Evidence Base and Applications. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Feldman, G., A. Hayes, S. Kumar, J. Greeson, and J. P. Laurenceau. 2007. “Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation: The Development and Initial Validation of the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised (CAMS-R).” Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 29:177–190.
Walach, H., N. Buchheld, V. Buttenmuller, N. Kleinknecht, and S. Schmidt. 2006. “Measuring Mindfulness—The Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory.” Personality and Individual Differences 40:1543–1555.
3. Analayo. 2003. Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization. Birmingham, UK: Windhorse Publications.
4. Creswell, J. D., N. Eisenberger, and M. Lieberman. 2008. Neural Correlates of Mindfulness During Social Exclusion. Los Angeles: University of California. Unpublished manuscript.
5. Brown, K. W., R. M. Ryan, and J. D. Creswell. 2007. “Mindfulness: Theoretical Foundations and Evidence for Salutary Effects.” Psychological Inquiry 18:211–237.
Wegner, D. M., D. J. Schneider, S. Carter, and T. White. 1987. “Paradoxical Effects of Thought Suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53:5–13.
6. Brown, K. W., R. M. Ryan, and J. D. Creswell. 2007. “Mindfulness: Theoretical Foundations and Evidence for Salutary Effects.” Psychological Inquiry 18:211–237
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