Have you ever enjoyed an activity so much so that you can’t imagine what life would be like without it? If so, then you’ve experienced addiction. Although we commonly consider addiction with drugs, alcohol, pornography, and gambling, those aren’t the only addictions people develop. People also develop addictions to things like sugar, caffeine, exercise, sleep, or even social media.
In fact, people can even enjoy meditating too much!
You may wonder how anyone could develop an addiction to something seemingly positive. What’s more, you may think that doesn’t sound all that bad. However, we will fill you in on the good, bad, and the ugly of meditation addiction.
First and foremost, what is addiction?
By definition, any habit or activity that you continue engaging in even though it negatively impacts your life is an addiction. Some addictions can stem from genetic predisposition, whereas other times we develop them due to a lack of coping skills. Furthermore, when people develop an addiction, they experience withdrawal symptoms when they go without the item or activity.
Have people actually conducted studies on meditation addiction?
US-based researchers conducted a qualitative research study in 2017 that determined 8 impacts of excessive meditation. Researchers concluded that if you meditate excessively, it can impact your:
- Cognitive thinking
- Sensory stimuli
- Body Awareness
- Sense of self
- Social interaction
Additionally, researchers found that as many as 41 percent of participants experienced negative results when meditating for over 10 hours per day.
With that being said, some people experience “spiritual bliss” through meditation. These people may spend several hours in a meditative state each day with hopes of recreating that feeling of euphoria. Other people utilize meditation as a means to escape reality. These people find that meditation provides temporary relief from the struggles they experience. However, this can not always be sustainable.
Can you experience withdrawal if you develop an addiction to meditation?
Usually when you stop using the addictive item or activity, withdrawal kicks in. People who experience withdrawal can feel anxious or depressed. They may also struggle with concentration and sleep.Physically, these people will often experience headaches, dizziness, breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues, and sweats.
Since meditation is known to boost serotonin and other “feel good chemicals,” it’s entirely possible to experience withdrawal. People who take a break from their regular meditation practices report feelings of agitation, stress, and depression. Although most people didn’t report any physical symptoms, the potential always exists.
What should I do to avoid becoming addicted to meditation?
Many millennials enjoy meditation. However, very few people consider that we can develop a dependency on virtually anything. When using an activity or item as a coping mechanism or source of happiness, you should always take time to reflect on the effectiveness of it. While doing that with your meditation practices, you can also ask yourself these 5 questions to determine if you’re developing a meditation addiction:
- Do you feel like you can’t control your meditation practices?
- When you meditate, do you experience any negative consequences?
- Do you feel like you’re escaping an unpleasant reality when you meditate?
- When you complete your meditation regiment, do the positive benefits carry throughout the day?
- When you stop meditating for a few days, do you experience any signs of withdrawal?
As with anything else in life, it’s important to remember that moderation is key with meditation. Spending a bit of time each morning and evening in a meditative state can do wonders for your overall health, but don’t let it become an unhealthy coping mechanism!