Mindfulness Meditation Can Physically Change Your Brain

woman practicing mindfulness in recovery“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.”

~Dr. Sara Lazar, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital

Mindfulness is deliberately focusing your attention and awareness upon what is occurring in your life. This focus helps you consciously and thoughtfully RESPOND to difficulties, rather than to simply REACT to them.

How Mindfulness Meditation Benefits Your Recovery

When you practice mindfulness, your responses to situations in your life become both more productive and more positive. In terms of recovery from a substance abuse disorder, mindfulness allows you to develop other character strengths:

  • INSIGHT into any dysfunctional or self-destructive mindsets
  • PATIENCE for real solutions, rather than rash reactions
  • TRANQUILITY, by creating mental space between you and your problems
  • DISCERNMENT, by letting you separate reality from your feelings
  • STRENGTH, by letting you act in your own interests, rather than letting you be compelled by your addiction
  • COURAGE – by helping you make strength-based decisions, rather than fearful reactions
  • SOBRIETY – by giving you a positive way to look at and deal with issues in your life.

But here’s the best part – the regular practice of mindfulness meditation has been found to do more than just give you stronger character – it can also produce measurable changes in your brain’s gray matter.

Eight Weeks to a Better Brain

According to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, the brains of individuals who participated in an eight-week program of mindfulness meditation experienced structural alteration of the regions of the brain associated with stress, empathy, sense of self, and memory.

And all this was done at an average of 27 minutes per day.

Dr. Britta Hölzel, PhD, a research fellow at the hospital and at Germany’s Giessen University and the lead author of the study, said, “It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life.”

Mindfulness meditation is just one of the treatment strategies employed at Lasting Recovery, an evidence-based and wellness-focused outpatient drug and alcohol rehab program in San Diego. By combining the latest scientific protocols with the most accepted holistic therapies, the staff at Lasting Recovery maximizes your chances of successful sobriety.

Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”

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