Could Mindfulness Meditation Help to Treat an Addiction?

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Addictions can be extremely difficult to defeat. They cause us to spend money on the wrong things and make decisions that are out of character. Even when we try to overcome an addiction, 7 out of 10 of us will eventually relapse back into whatever we’re abusing. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a better way to overcome these harmful habits?

Mindfulness meditation might just be the solution. This is because the brain always has a desire to learn something new.

It’s All About Changing the Habit Loop

In the past, we were able to find rewards in our ability to sustain ourselves and our families. This positive habit loop would become a literal craving where our ancestors would literally be addicted to how they provided for themselves. This could be through hunting, gathering, or farming. We even see this somewhat today with the modern career.

And yes – work can become an addiction for someone just like drugs or alcohol can be one.

In our modern world, we’ve discovered how to replace those past rewards with something that provides immediate gratification. It becomes part of a negative habit loop because we’re looking to cope with a stressful and emotional situation. We become dependent on these substances to make us feel better, but there’s a catch: we don’t actually cope with the stress and negativity.

It still lingers there, festering until the next event that triggers a negative habit loop. Each negative loop is stronger than the previous one, which requires us to use more substances that can provide us with an immediate result which hides the painful encounter.

Mindfulness meditation changes the habit loop. It not only helps us to cope with those difficult situations, but it also provides the brain and the body with numerous positive benefits that encourage a change in habits. This, in turn, can help to defeat an addiction because it stops a negative cycle from its continuous looping.

Why Does Mindfulness Meditation Work?

The idea is simple: there is perfection to be found in any given moment of the day. In order to find that perfection, we must explore in every detail that moments we encounter. This means we use our senses like never before to experience each moment instead of simply living in each moment.

Let’s use a smoking addiction as an example. Many people smoke to relieve stress or provide themselves with a stimulant. Normally we would look at how smoking makes us feel, but mindfulness forces the mind to look outward. What does cigarette smoke actually smell like? Taste like? How does it change the environment?

By answering these questions, we can identify our negative habit loops. Once they’ve been identified, they can be changed.

For this to work, there must be a desire to want to change serving as the cornerstone of mindfulness. If someone does not really want to quit an addiction, then nothing will really help and a relapse is the likely result. For those who do wish to defeat an addiction once and for all, however, mindfulness meditation could be the key needed to unlock their full potential.