Earlier on, we talked about how many alcoholics misuse alcohol as a warped coping mechanism for stress and how equipping ourselves with the skills to deal with stress without the help of alcohol is key to stopping drinking. Meditation is one of the proven methods to reduce overwhelming stress, improving memory and acting as a substitute for alcohol.
Photo Credit : Gwoeii H./Flickr
One of the key things to practising successful meditation is to practice mindfulness - the ability to remain aware of how you’re feeling right now, your “moment to moment” experience. Very often, we work ourselves up to a high degree of stress by constantly thinking about the past or by worrying about the future. We rarely spend time focused on the present moment. But by doing so, you can bring your nervous system back into a balanced state.
Before you begin to meditate, make sure these elements are present:
- A quiet environment. Choose a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or distracted. It can be indoors or outdoors, wherever you feel most comfortable.
- A comfortable position. Get comfortable, but avoid lying down as you are likely to fall asleep. Sit up straight in a chair, or cross-legged on the floor.
- A point of focus. This point may be internal – a feeling, a scenario – or something external such as a flame or a word or phrase that you repeat throughout your session. If you choose to keep your eyes open, focus on a fixed object in your surroundings to enhance your concentration.
Once all these elements are in place, you may begin meditating. Relax your body with deep breaths and consciously let go of muscular tension. Let all other thoughts and concerns slip away and say to yourself: I exist here and now. Don’t worry if distracting thoughts do intrude into your mind while you are meditating. Just gently turn your mind back to your point of focus and continue. Take some time out from your busy weekly schedule to calm your mind with meditation. Once you find yourself coping better with stress, the desire or need to drink alcohol will decrease naturally.
Don’t dismiss the notion of meditation as hippie rubbish just yet, try it today and share your experience with our Stop Drinking community!