June 30, 2015

Can we overcome our addictions and compulsions?

Can we overcome our addictions and compulsions? The yogic tradition says we can. Through meditation and heightened awareness we can change our behaviors.

Neuroscientists are now taking a deeper look at meditation and noticing how the practice can actually create new neural pathways in the brain. Neuroscientists found that after just five 20 minute sessions of a meditation technique, people had increased blood flow to an area of the brain vital to self-control, the anterior cingulate cortex. After 11 hours of practice, they found actual physical changes in the brain around this area, which can help with the impulsivity that accompanies excessive drinking.

Researchers from Yale recently found that a 4-week meditation training program was more effective as a treatment for addiction for smoking than the American Lung Association’s ‘gold standard’ treatment. Over a period of 4 weeks, on average, people saw a 90% reduction in the number of cigarettes they smoked-from 18/day to 2/day and 35% of smokers quit completely! In a four-month follow-up over 30% maintained their abstinence. Although rigorous research on the use of meditation for addiction relief has only begun, the results show great promise for binge eating disorder, cigarette addiction and alcohol relapse prevention.

In this short video that could shed some more light, Sadhguru speaks about how to overcome addictions and compulsive behavior:

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