Mind over matter. This old adage encouraged us to believe that the mind is more powerful than the body, but is this actually true? What difference could a few positive thoughts possibly have in your daily life? The answer is much more than we could have anticipated. Research has shown the practical and statistical benefits behind meditation, or mindfulness, as an addiction recovery technique. Let’s take a look at some of the most fascinating finds from these studies.
Mindfulness as a Supplemental Form of Prevention and Recovery
One of the most highly cited studies is Treating and Preventing Alcohol, Nicotine, and Drug Abuse Through Transcendental Meditation: A Review and Statistical Meta-Analysis. The study finds that:
- Mindfulness physically alters the brain. We often credit mindfulness for its calming effect, but very few people know that it physically changes our brain as well. You see, cells and neurons make chemical connections in response to stimuli, which is medically referred to as neuroplasticity. Because practicing mindfulness reduces stress, the interconnections between neurons in the brain will change over time.
- Health benefits are extensive. Reduced stress triggers a host of physical benefits for young adults who practice mindfulness on a regular basis. For instance, 75 percent of insomniacs are able to fall asleep within a half hour of practicing mindfulness, and mindfulness provides up to a 44 percent reduction in medical symptoms.
- Productivity gains an incredible boost. Did you know that 40 minutes of practicing mindfulness refreshes you more than a 40-minute nap? Brain scans show that mindfulness shifts where activity occurs in the brain, thereby slowing aging, improving memory, and boosting productivity. And the best part? These benefits are exaggerated among young adults.
When utilized in a holistic treatment program, mindfulness soothes the path to sober living. For instance, just as drugs and substance abuse alter the brain, mindfulness changes the brain’s connections, except this time the alteration and growth is positive in nature. The result is less anxiety and depression, which are often some of the reasons that drug addiction begins in the first place. As recovery continues, the productivity gained from practicing mindfulness allows young adults the opportunity to rebuild their lives and explore new passions and hobbies.
The overwhelming benefits of practicing mindfulness couldn’t be more apparent.