More and more people are discovering the meditation benefits to their health. One of the main reasons people meditate is that it can reduce their stress. Mental and physical stress can increase stress hormone levels. Recently, it has been used to address the opioid crisis.
Opioid Use Disorder and Meditation Benefits
The number of people who overuse opioids compulsively is increasing. Specialists are now looking into non-pharmacological methods to manage pain and address the issue. One of those methods is the use of meditation, which is a part of mind-body therapy (MBT).
Several studies are now being conducted to find out how MBT can relieve chronic pain and how it can prevent people who used opioids to develop opioid-related health problems.
Researchers found that MBTs had a significant association with reduced pain intensity. It also had a significant yet small association with a reduction in opioid dosing.
Experts said that when you are in severe pain, your body’s defenses are normally reduced. As a result, you will encounter a lot of dysfunctions. Pain boosts stress hormone cortisol and inflammatory processes in the body. Generally, it starts a negative feedback loop that creates more pain.
Meditation Benefits for Pain
It is not surprising that meditation benefits include addressing pain. As you engage in mindfulness and relaxation, it will help in those stress responses. Meditation is a type of mental exercise. It works like strengthening your brain. It boosts your mind’s self-control.
It changes how the brain perceives the input from your body. That is, it changes how the brain perceives pain.
Unfortunately, learning to meditate can take a lot of training. You need to know how to allow your body to feel relaxed as you possibly can.
Meditation Types – Which One is Right for You
Indeed, mediation can help in the opioid crisis. But which type of meditation is right for you? Keep in mind that mediation is different for everyone.
Guided and Unguided
If it is your first time to learn to meditate, you will have to choose between guided and unguided meditation types. The former involves a teacher who will guide you throughout the steps of the practice. These days, you can use a meditation app to guide your meditation.
Guided meditation is useful for beginners as you will likely get the most of the experience. Any guided mediation follows the same format. That is, the teacher will explain how meditation works, lead you to a technique and suggest how to incorporate the technique into your everyday life.
For unguided meditation, you have to meditate alone. That is, there is no one to be there explaining the process. It involves sitting in someplace quiet and just pay attention to your body and breathing.
Unguided meditation is typically used for individuals who finished guided mediation.
Is it Calming or Insight
The types of mediation can also be categorized as calming or insight. Calming enables you to cultivate a more peaceful mind, thereby, improving concentration. It involves focusing on your breath, a visualization, a physical object or a mantra. Each time your mind wanders, you just have to return to an object.
Insight meditation is quite different. It involves transforming your mind by developing wisdom, compassion, and other qualities. It forces you to focus on your breath and being aware of the physical sensations that arise.
Mediation does not need to be either calming or insight. Most meditation techniques combine both two elements.
Another type of mediation is focused attention. It is easy as it utilizes your breath as an object to focus your attention to. When you start to wander, you simply have to return to your breath.
You may also try a body scan. Our body does one thing while our mind is wandering. With a body scan meditation technique, you will sync your body and mind. Simply imagine a photocopier light that slowly moves over your body. With a body scan technique, you focus your attention on any discomfort, tension, aches, and sensations in your body.
Another meditation type is visualization. It involves picturing something or someone in your mind. Instead of focusing your attention on your breath, you will focus on a mental image. It is challenging at first. As you conjure a specific image, you get to observe your mind and focus on your physical senses.
Reflection mediation type is also useful. It lets you ask yourself about something, such as “What are the things that you are grateful for?” With this type of meditation, you must be aware of your feelings and not your thoughts.
What is Zen Meditation?
It is a type of meditation that is used by Buddhists. Here, you will have to sit upright and follow your breath. You need to be aware of how it moves in and out of your belly. With zen meditation, you will allow your mind to “just be.” It promotes a sense of alertness and presence.
Are There Emotional Benefits of Meditation
It has been proven again and again that meditation can help you cope with any negative emotions. It changes your perspective and mindset. It also alters your brains and rewires them to give you more positive thoughts and emotions.
With regular meditation, your gray matter, where your emotions are regulated, increases. The amygdala regulates how you feel when you are stressed responds to meditation by reducing its size.
Those who meditate for three weeks experienced a reduction in aggression. It also reduces their reaction to negative feedback. When you practice meditation for 10 days, you will experience a reduction in your being irritable.
Apart from reducing negative emotions, meditation benefits also include boosting your positive emotions and compassion. As you train to less focus in your head and be aware of the present moment, you can distance yourself from your emotions and negative thoughts. As a result, you will feel a lot better at the moment.
These days, you do not need to hire a guru to help you out when you meditate. You can simply download an app for your guided meditation practice. There are several apps out there that can help you maximize the meditation benefits. (Click the link to know more about the benefits of slowing down.)
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