2 studies that prove practicing mindfulness gives you a natural high
We all know someone who has become addicted to alcohol, drugs or even playing video games. But did you also realize that there is an alternative?
A latest study from the University of Utah reveals how mindfulness meditation can produce a healthy, altered state of consciousness in treating individuals with addictive behaviours, which could be a lifesaving benefit due to decreasing one’s addiction rate by promoting changes within the brain.
To date, this may be the most significant neuroscience research on Mindfulness as therapy for addictions.
The findings come out today so make sure your read about what we discovered! Read what university of utah has to say about the study
Garland’s research team recruited 165 adults with long-term opioid use for the study. Participants were randomly placed into either the control group that participated in supportive group psychotherapy or the experimental group taught to incorporate Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) into their daily lives. Before and after the eight weeks of study treatment, all participants were brought into the research lab and had their brain waves measured with EEG while they were asked to try to practice mindfulness meditation. Participants were assessed for opioid misuse for nine months after the treatment ended.
MORE is an eight-week, mindfulness-based therapy created by Garland to treat addiction, pain and emotional distress by promoting self-awareness and self-regulation of automatic and addictive habits. In a large clinical trial recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, MORE was shown to reduce opioid misuse by 45%, more than doubling the effect of standard therapy.
Study participants in the MORE group learned to practice mindfulness meditation by focusing their attention on their breath or body sensations for sustained periods of time and refocusing their attention when their minds began to wander into obsessive thinking about drugs or life stressors.Source
Researchers have found that when someone meditates, their brain activity changes.
A study by Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed this to be true for Buddhist monks who had been practising meditation decades before his research laboratory offered them an opportunity to participate in studies on mindfulness and emotion regulation during deep REM sleep — something only elite athletes can accomplish naturally!
Although there were some differences between experienced versus novice practitioners sixty some odd figures
However, it is not just experts at meditation who can harness its benefits. Researchers have also investigated how regular people’s brains may change after learning how to meditate. Their results suggest that after just eight weeks of practice, people show brain changes associated with more positive emotions and better emotional control.
Many of these changes occur in the limbic system, which is the brain’s reward processing area. This is also the area that is activated following drug use, suggesting that meditation and substance use may be tapping into the same underlying processes. Meditation may cause changes to the brain’s levels of dopamine, the same brain chemical involved in drug addiction.
TRY IT YOURSELF
Many people are surprised when they first begin to meditate by how powerful it can be. After a bit of practice, meditation results in feelings of calm, relaxation, and even euphoria. This “natural high” allows you to regulate your emotions better and overcome distressing situations.
When first trying meditation, find a quiet place to be by yourself. Sit in a comfortable position, either cross-legged on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Note your breathing coming slowly, in and out.
Notice how your body moves when you breathe, with your rib cage and belly expanding. Maintain your focus on your breath, coming in and out, in and out. If you find your mind wandering, just gently return your focus to your breath.Source
The study found that participants’ satisfaction with their lives had increased significantly after just eight weeks of mindfulness training. In addition, they reported feeling more positive and enthusiastic and less hostile and nervous.
So if you’re looking for an alternate way to feel good without resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms, mindfulness training may be a helpful option. And it doesn’t take long to see results – in just eight weeks; you could be on your way to a natural high.