Meditation and Depression

MEDITATION defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. For me, meditation is not an easy practice to begin as I struggle with quieting the mind. When I sit to meditate my mind is all over the place. Instead of my mind being still, random thoughts invade my mind. Meditation is about awareness of our thoughts, taking breaths and being aware of your breath, your body, and your surroundings. Meditation is a great anti-depressive and so I started researching the practice and its effects on depression. This blog shares what I learned and why I conclude meditation is a priceless tool in against depression. I hope my research reinforces my own journey and motivates you to practice meditation as well.

Types of Meditation

The root of meditation comes from eastern religious and or spiritual practices. Different types of meditation affect the brain in unique ways. Meditation is an active, purposeful training of your mind to increase awareness. Meditation started as a religious practice to become enlightened.Practicing meditation will reward you with the benefits of lowered stress, lessen or eliminating depression and becoming more conscious. I respect your right to religious freedom and am not here to convert you nor introduce you to any religion. My goal is to educate you on tools and resources to battle depression and give you a life of hopefulness.

  • Mindfulness is staying focused on the present, and focusing on your breath. When a distracting thought comes to your mind you simply refocus on your breath. Sit with your back straight and eyes closed. A benefit of mindfulness is enhanced attention to your body, emotion, focus and enhance self-perspective which may play a role in depression.
  • Visualization is a byproduct of meditating, it is seeing the goal of what you desire before it happens. You can use visualization to change hurtful memories by creating a better ending to our own story. You can do this by replaying a scene in your mind, and then replace the undesired responses with more calm and controlled ones.
  • Guided Meditation is when you are guided, by a narrator, to elicit a specific change in your life. When you practice guided meditation you listen to your guide who can be on cd, YouTube, written, in person etc. while he/she leads you through a series of relaxing visualizations. As you become more relaxed and become more present and still your stress fades away, and your mind becomes clearer. When you practice guided meditation, you can be sitting up and lying down. For myself, new to meditation and my mind wonders a lot, I find guided meditation a very useful tool in quieting my mind and keep me focused.

Practicing meditation will reward you with the benefits of lowered stress, lessen or eliminating depression and becoming more conscious Click To Tweet

Find A Meditation Technique

MRI studies have shown that meditation reduces activity in the amygdala, the brain area that governs how we respond to stress. Furthermore, meditation reduces activity in the part of the brain that is on when our mind is wandering from thought to thought. Feelings of unhappiness, depression and stressed are said to be linked to our mind constantly wandering and having fleeting thoughts. Find a meditation technique that works best for you and practice it. Continue to take your medication, continue to see your therapist and continue to eat right and exercise.Be optimistic don’t be ashamed or apologize for your experiences.  Each experience makes you a unique gift to the world.

Be optimistic don't be ashamed or apologize for your experiences Click To Tweet

Find a local therapist or contact the National Suicide Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255

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