Prayer and meditation are suggested in the 12-step program of recovery. However, they an be effective tools regardless of what recovery program we choose to follow. Although prayer and meditation sound like religious practices, we can benefit from them whether we are religious or not. The great thing about prayer and meditation is that they are very broad categories and are open to interpretation and personalization. Once we take on the practice, we find that we begin to improve our spiritual and emotional health. According to a study in published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016, women who went to religious services more than once a week had a 33% lower chance of dying than their non-religious peers in a 16-year follow-up. According to Jamie Ducharme, in a 2018 Time Health article entitled You Asked: Do Religious People Live Longer, another study found that “f regular service attendance was linked to reductions in the body’s stress responses and even in mortality–so much so that worshippers were 55% less likely to die during the up to 18-year follow-up period than people who didn’t frequent the temple, church or mosque.” However, these benefits may no apply solely to members of organized religion. According to Howard Friedman, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, religious tradition and service works by reinforcing certain spiritual concepts such as “respect, gratitude, charity, humility, harmony, meditation, and preservation of health.” It is not necessarily attending services that provide these benefits, but it is the act of living by spiritual principles. Prayer and meditation, regardless of any religious connotation, also reinforce these principles and allow us to act in ways that benefits our own mental, physical, and spiritual health. Dr. Crystal Park, a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, explained in an Everyday Health article entitled How Prayer Strengthens Your Emotional Health, that prayer can actually change the body’s stress response and prepare one for any events that could affect one’s sense of serenity. Park explained, “That peace, that sense of meaning and connection that happens with prayer is what is positive. Those kinds of things have physiological effects on the body, such as calming your cardiovascular system and reducing your stress.” We may be unaccustomed to the acts of prayer and meditation, but once we develop the practice, we find that our sense of peace and serenity improves dramatically and we are no longer at risk of turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the stressors of daily life.
Your story can become one of peace and serenity in sobriety. You can make the courageous decision to seek help now and begin building a life of happiness, joyousness, and freedom. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with compassionate professionals who understand the disease of addiction from every angle and are dedicated to providing clients with all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777