There are many different types of meditation which all work to slow down the chatter of the mind and promote relaxation and mental clarity.
Talks given by Gil Fronsdal, and other Vipassana and Zen teachers at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California.
Center for Mind Body Medicine
Belly Breathing audio exercise.
The Internet Yogi
This web site was developed by David Shannahoff-Khalsa, a research scientist at the University of California, San Diego who specializes in treating psychiatric disorders with Kundalini Yoga. He has developed a protocol using Kundalini Yoga meditation to treat obsessive compulsive disorders and addiction. These techniques can also help improve mental concentration and mental stability, reduce anxiety and depression, and promote a deep sense of inner peace. The protocol uses unique intense active meditative breathing, chanting, and movement techniques (all while sitting in a chair), and is available for purchase on videotape on his web site.
In addition, Dr. Shannahoff-Khalsa has written an article describing a specific Kundalini Yoga meditation technique for treating addictive disorders that is available full text online.
Shannahoff-Khalsa DS. "An introduction to Kundalini yoga meditation techniques that are specific for the treatment of psychiatric disorders." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Volume 10, Number 1, 2004, pp. 91-101.
This has the potential to be very helpful in reducing the obsessive thinking and cravings that often lead to relapse.
Founded by George Haas, who is also a person in recovery, mindfulness meditation skills based on 2600-year-old Buddhist teachings are offered for addiction recovery. These skills help to rewire the deep automatic responses of the brain and are focused on living more peacefully, compassionately and wisely. Daily live guided meditations via conference call or archived are available six days a week ($35 per month) as well as one-on-one mentoring via Skype (1/2 hour sessions twice a month for $200 or four times a month for $400).
Mindfulness - Your Present Moment
A helpful list of quick relaxation techniques to help reduce stress in any situation: at home, at the office or school, while driving, and while shopping.
Relaxation and Stress Reduction mindfulness and relaxation audio files.
Ohio State University Center for Integrative Health and Wellness
A wide selection of well done audio recordings on mindfulness, relaxation response, and guided imagery.
Oxford Mindfulness Centre
Guided Mindfulness Meditation Video - In this simple audio/video Prof. Mark Williams introduces the concept of mindfulness and leads viewers through a short guided meditation.
Vietnamese Zen Master Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, poet, scholar, and human rights activist. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960's, he has been living in exile in France since 1969 because of his positions on peace during the Vietnamese War. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches the art of mindful living (to be deeply aware in the present moment of what is going on within and around us). While the abuse of drugs or alcohol can be a way of running from life by trying to forget one's difficulties and challenges, mindfulness is the opposite. It improves one's ability to cope with life by teaching how to be present with whatever is going on without getting overwhelmed or disturbed by it.
The web site lists monastic retreats in various locations around the world, many in the U.S. (click on Visiting Us in the top navigation bar), a blog, audio talks, mindfulness principles, and a directory of communities that regularly practice mindfulness together, organized by state in the U.S. and by country internationally.
The site describes the TM program, its health benefits, and the extensive research that has been done on TM. An online locator is provided in order to find the closest Maharishi Vedic University, College, School or Center where the TM technique is taught or you can call toll free at 1-888-532-7686.
UCLA Semel Institute
Mindfulness meditations from 3 minutes to 12 minutes that can be downloaded to mp3 files as well. The Windows clock at the bottom of the page has a gong/bell that is very soothing.
World Wide Online Meditation Center
Simple written instruction for eight different types of meditation including healing, centering, relaxation, and mindfulness meditation are provided online. Also includes online meditation mp3’s, 20 meditation tips video and more.
Taub E, Steiner SS, Weingarten E, Walton KG. Effectiveness of broad spectrum approaches to relapse prevention in severe alcoholism: a long-term, randomized, controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation, EMG biofeedback and electronic neurotherapy. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. 11(1-2): 187-220, 1994. Large improvements in relapse prevention were seen with the addition of Transcendental Meditation (TM) or EMG biofeedback to the routine treatment program in an alcohol residential treatment facility. Complete abstinence 18 months after leaving the center was reported by 65% of the TM group and 55% of the biofeedback group compared to 25% of the standard care group and 28% for the neurotherapy group.
Wupperman P, Cohen MG, Haller DL, et al. Mindfulness and Modification Therapy for Behavioral Dysregulation: A Comparison Trial Focused on Substance Use and Aggression. J Clin Psychol. 2015 Oct; 71(10):964-78.
A 20-week mindfulness and modification therapy program was compared to treatment as usual for alcohol problems, drug use and physical and verbal aggression. Results showed significant and large decreases in alcohol/drug use and physical and verbal aggression that lasted at two month follow up.
Lee EB, An W, Levin ME, Twohig MP. An initial meta-analysis of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for treating substance use disorders. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Oct 1;155:1-7.
This meta-analysis of 10 studies looked at the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), in which mindfulness is a big component, on substance abuse compared to other treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medications, 12-step programs, and treatment as usual. A significant small to medium effect size was found favoring ACT over other active treatments. ACT appears to be a promising intervention for substance use disorders.
Ruscio AC, Muench C, Brede E, Waters AJ. Effect of Brief Mindfulness Practice on Self-Reported Affect, Craving, and Smoking: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial Using Ecological Momentary Assessment. Nicotine Tob Res. 2016 Jan;18(1):64-73. A brief mindfulness practice delivered to smokers on a personal digital assistant (PDA) reduced overall negative emotions, craving and cigarettes smoked per day over time.
The long-term positive effects of TM, in particular, seem to be correlated with a reduced relapse rate. TM may not only reduce tension and anxiety, but also enhance a sense of control in anxiety-provoking situations that strengthens the long-term resistance to stress.
It should also be noted that there are many ways to achieve a meditative state of mind. For those who have trouble sitting quietly for periods of time, various movement practices and martial arts, such as tai chi, qigong, and karate, can also focus and calm the mind and enhance feelings of self-confidence and self-worth.
Self-help relaxation strategies are an effective option to support personal change and reduce stress - and as such can play an important role in addiction recovery. Below are some examples of practical self-help Apps for those in addiction recovery and those feeling stressed out:
Discover Yourself Inc.
iOS $3.99iOS Free Lite Version
Developed by psychotherapist Ronit Herzfeld, this tool randomly intercepts peoples' daily routines and prompts them to get in touch with what they are feeling, bringing them into the present moment. It provides insight and breaks patterns of feeling, attitudes and behavior through awareness and engaging, inspirational practices.
Hazelden Mobile Apps
Hazelden's mobile applications feature their best-selling daily meditation books, Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Each Day a New Beginning, A Day at a Time, Food for Thought, and Touchstones. The apps feature the complete collection of thoughts, meditations, and prayers.
Logiciel iLB (SENC)
This App can help you relax, meditate, do yoga or sleep by producing a customized mix of your favorite sounds from a selection of 50. Professionally designed and developed, it offers high quality ambient sounds, volume adjustment for each sound, and binaural beats for brainwave synchronization to help induce mental states such as relaxation, meditation, creativity and sleep.
iSamahdi — Meditation Timer
Create customized sessions that can match your varied meditation habits and needs. Meditate in silence or associate a favorite song, chimes or guided teaching with the meditation. You can keep track of your meditations and experiences in your meditation journal. Features a session timer that can be paused and resumed and multiple chime choices developed by Buddhist monks.