Do you live with nagging voices in your head? What do you do to quiet them?
These voices may talk about your failures and the ways in which you have struggled to achieve personal goals. They may tell you to give in to temptation and to quit trying to better yourself because you’ll always find a way to screw things up.
These voices are loud and persistent, but most of all, they are lies that have developed within your subconscious. They have taken root and have tricked you into believing their deceptions. They have tricked you into succumbing to their negative self-fulfilling prophecies.
What they fail to tell you is that you are capable of great things when properly motivated. You are more than your addiction and the false sense of security it provides.
Finding a way to quiet the negative voices in your head is not only essential to achieving sustained sobriety, but it can also improve your overall wellbeing. One of the best ways you can do this is through mindfulness and meditation practice. Meditation is a key technique for improving your chances of long-term recovery and repairing the physical damage that your addiction has wreaked upon your body.
Meditation for the Immune System: Is It Real?
A recent review studied the effects of meditation and mindfulness on the immune system and found some amazing results. The results highlighted that meditation:
- Increased the number of CD-4 cells, which are the immune system’s helper cells that are involved in sending signals to other cells – telling them to destroy infections.
- Reduced markers of inflammation, high levels of which are often correlated with decreased immune functioning and disease.
- Increased telomerase activity; telomerase helps promote the stability of chromosomes and prevent their deterioration (telomerase deterioration leads to cancer and premature aging).1
In another eight-week study, researchers at UCLA had 50 HIV-positive men meditate daily for 30-45 minutes. Doctors found that, compared with a control group, the more training sessions the men attended, the higher their CD-4 cell count at the conclusion of the study (remember, CD-4 cells are the immune system’s helper cells). 2
Both these studies have shown that regular meditation practice can improve immune system functioning and keep you healthier.
What are the Benefits of Meditation on Immune Health?
New research suggests that mindfulness meditation can have benefits for health and performance, including improved immune function, reduced blood pressure and enhanced cognitive function.
Essentially, when you’re practicing mindfulness meditation – paying attention to the present moment without judgment – your body naturally responds by calming down. That enables your immune system to do what it needs to do to take care of you.
A study, published in the latest issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, draws on existing scientific literature to attempt to explain the positive effects of meditation. The goal of this work is to unveil the conceptual complexity of mindfulness, providing the big picture by arranging many findings – like the pieces of a mosaic.
Four key components of mindfulness were identified and may account for the positive effects people experience when they commit time and effort to the practice of quieting the mind.
- Attention regulation
- Body awareness
- Emotion regulation
- Sense of self
Together, these help people deal with the effects of stress and allow the mind and body to interact in a manner that begins both spiritual healing and physical rejuvenation. The direct benefits of which can include:
- Improved heart functionality
- Decreased cognitive decline
- A boost in natural antibodies
- Reduced pro-inflammatory gene expression
- Reduced cell aging3
While these specific areas of immunity-boosting have been displayed in recent research, the fact of the matter is meditation and mindfulness has been practiced for centuries for a reason. There is viable evidence that practicing meditation helps boost your defense against all manners of disease, including addiction, and fosters wellness within the spirit and the body.
Meditation for Enhancing the Immune System During Addiction Recovery
Besides positively impacting a person’s wellbeing, meditation can actually provide healing properties to an individual’s physical and mental health when practiced consistently. Taking this knowledge and incorporating it into a comprehensive recovery plan enables someone struggling with addiction to begin a total healing process of the mind, body and soul.
The way in which a substance use disorder ravages your physical health can be catastrophic if left unchecked. That is why using modern methods of treatment and centuries-old techniques to achieve complete restoration of your health and happiness is the most effective way to achieve sustained sobriety and personal wellbeing.
Meditation and Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
At Ranch Creek Recovery, we offer customized treatment plans that fit your unique recovery needs and offer an alternative to the traditional 12-step program. Our holistic treatment services can help you stop abusing drugs or alcohol and forge a fulfilling, clean future.
Through every treatment program, meditation, mindfulness and addiction recovery walk hand-in-hand, helping you to center your mind, body and spirit as you begin to forge your new, sober life. And since our treatment programs have a six-client max, we’re able to provide you with complete, individualized care and 24/7 support.
Learn more about our addiction treatment programs or contact us today to get your questions answered.
1 National Center for Biotechnology information. Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26799456.
2 National Center for Biotechnology information. Mindfulness meditation training effects on CD4+ T lymphocytes in HIV-1 infected adults: A small randomized controlled trial. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2725018/.
3 National Center for Biotechnology information. Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12883106.