Get Help Now 760-492-6385

Stress increases the risk of relapse for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). Chronic substance abuse reduces people’s stress tolerance and makes it more difficult for them to maintain emotional stability during moments of physical or emotional discomfort. Discovering healthy ways to manage stress allows people to avoid falling back into unhealthy patterns of behavior. According to MedlinePlus, “The first step in managing stress is recognizing it in your life [. . .] Once you know what signals to look for, you can start to manage it.” West Coast Recovery Centers helps clients manage stress effectively using meditation techniques and other therapeutic methods. 

Common Meditation Techniques for Reducing Stress

Clients use meditation and other techniques to reduce stress during early recovery from substance abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Learning to cope with stress in a healthy way will help you, the people you care about, and those around you become more resilient.” The stressors people encounter in everyday life interfere with treatment by causing clients to lose focus or feel discouraged. Stress management increases self-confidence and allows clients to focus their energy on healing. 

Some common meditation techniques for reducing stress include: 

  • Guided meditation 
  • Meditative exercise in individual or group therapy 
  • Daily meditations and affirmations 
  • Deep breathing meditation 
  • Body scan meditation and physical relaxation exercises

Mindfulness and grounding techniques are essential tools for reducing stress during treatment for SUD. Individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders benefit from using coping tools for lowering stress. Using mindfulness-based exercises like meditation to increase self-awareness reduces the risk of relapse by helping people manage stress more effectively. Everyone has different recovery goals and challenges they encounter during treatment. Collaborating with the care team at West Coast Recovery Centers allows clients to determine which techniques may provide the best stress relief. 

3 Common Meditation Techniques

Meditation is a highly flexible and adaptable tool for reducing emotional instability. People can use meditation during most activities and at any point throughout the day, making it ideal for addressing cravings and other symptoms exacerbated by emotional or physical stress. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to use meditation and evidence-based therapies to heal from the effects of substance abuse. Below are three common meditation techniques people use during treatment and continuing care.

#1. Deep Breathing Meditation

Breathing affects how the brain and body function. Deep breathing exercises are known to decrease stress hormones and improve cognitive function. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), “Deep breathing can be useful for anyone who has stress [. . .] you can choose to take a couple minutes and breathe deeply each day, or just use it when you need it.” 

Many different deep breathing techniques are taught at West Coast Recovery Centers. One exercise people use to reduce stress involves doing the following: 

  • Inhaling deeply through the nose for a count of 4 
  • Holding the breath for a count of 6 
  • Exhaling slowly through the mouth for a count of 8 

Other popular breathing exercises include the following: 

  • Focusing on physical sensations in the body while doing diaphragmatic breathing 
  • Inhaling for a count of 4, holding for a count of 4, exhaling for a count of 4 
  • Consciously relaxing muscle groups while deep breathing 

People in treatment learn deep breathing exercises from their therapist or other care team members. Holistic therapies, including meditation, provide people with a judgment-free space where they can relax and heal.

#2. Guided Meditation

Some people feel more comfortable having a professional walk them through meditation. Guided meditation takes place in one-on-one or group settings. A therapist, counselor, or other care team member talks the client through various meditative exercises. 

Some examples of guided meditation include: 

  • A therapist verbally describing a serene scene to facilitate physical relaxation
  • Exploring a mental scene by imaging how it may impact different senses
  • Focusing on muscle groups as a therapist describes the sensations of relaxing those muscles 

Guided meditation generally involves either sitting or lying down for maximum comfort and relaxation. 

#3. Body Scan Meditation

Many forms of meditation focus on body sensations. Body scan meditation (BSM) involves scanning the body to identify what sensations a person feels during various therapeutic exercises. According to Frontiers in Psychology, people who participated in body scan meditation “exhibited greater dispositional mindfulness, even though they were simply taught to control their breath and focus on body sensations.” The technique helps people relax, focus, and reduce stress in the body. 

Health Benefits of Meditation Techniques

Mindfulness-based therapies, including meditation, reduce the risk of relapse. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “A 2018 review of 37 studies (3,531 total participants) evaluated the effectiveness of several mindfulness-based approaches to substance use disorder treatment and found that they significantly decreased participants’ craving levels.” West Coast Recovery Centers uses meditation and other mindfulness-based therapeutic exercises to help clients heal and build greater self-awareness. The many health benefits of meditation also facilitate physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

Meditation is a quick and easy way to reduce stress and improve emotional stability. Individuals recovering from chronic substance abuse often struggle to manage stress and symptoms related to their condition. Treatment programs provide holistic therapies, including meditation and mindfulness-based exercises. A whole-person approach to care helps clients heal and build a healthy foundation for a sober future. West Coast Recovery Centers provides clients with an opportunity to learn effective stress reduction techniques, including meditation. Clients choose from multiple forms of meditation, including breathwork. The clinic team helps clients identify the holistic approach that best matches their needs and personal preferences. To learn more about our programs and services, contact us today by calling (760) 492-6509.