After reading Rory Kinsella’s post on 5 Ways In Which Meditation Can Help You Quit Alcohol, I can personally attest to why it works and how it applies to other aspects of our lives. He tells us:
1. It Gives You a Natural High: Meditation gives you a natural high by stimulating the brain’s happiness center.
2. It Helps With Impulse Control: It strengthens your impulse control and helps you master “urge surfing”.
3. Research: A 2002 study at the John F. Kennedy Institute showed a 65% increase in the feel-good chemical dopamine released during meditation.
4. Results: A 2006 study at the University of Washington showed addicted inmates taught meditation drank 87% less alcohol.
5. It Works on Root Causes: Meditation works on the root causes of dependence: stress and unhappiness.
Which totally makes sense! Because here are some things I’ve noticed since I became a consistent meditator:
– Though it wasn’t intentional, I’ve naturally started drinking less. Before I learned meditation, it was not unusual for me to have a glass of wine or cocktail every evening as a way to unwind after a long day. Now I can take it or leave it. I’ve found that when I do have a drink, it’s not nearly as pleasurable as it used to be. I prefer the way my body and mind feels when I don’t have it.
– I’ve lost 30 pounds. Food used to rule my life far more before I started meditating. I used to identify as a “foodie” (which is fine if that’s something you truly enjoy, just not something I see myself as anymore!) and used food as entertainment or for comfort. Lately I’ve found that I really enjoy simple, whole foods more, eating far less processed foods. I no longer eat sugar, gluten, and 99% of the time I don’t eat grains. I’ve naturally lost the weight slowly over the past 3 ½ years because of this. Of course I still find pleasure in food, but see it more as a way to nourish and energize my body and mind.
– I’m in my best physical shape…perhaps ever. I NEVER used to like the gym, but now I love it and crave physical exercise. Physical activity used to be something I made myself do, and now I actually want to do it! I’ve discovered that I love resistance training, going on nature/beach walks, and yoga.
– I’ve taken massive action in regards to my life and work. I’ve committed to living a life and doing work in line with my values, which include my family, my husband’s health, and my own health (physical, mental, and emotional). After living in Boston for 10 years, I closed my thriving private practice and moved back South to be closer to family. I’m also doing work I’m passionate about, in a context that allows for a healthier, happier, simpler, and more fulfilling life.
These are just a few reasons why I decided to teach meditation to others.
What about you?
Are you a regular meditator? If so, what changes have you experienced since doing so? If not, come learn meditation with me! Sign up for an intro talk to learn more about a simple meditation practice you can incorporate everyday, even if you’re really busy.
Dr. Janice Powis
Meditation Teacher & Personal Transformation Coach