Meditation For Depression: Why It Works And How To Begin

In the course of his or her life, approximately one man in ten and one woman in five will experience major depression. In half of these cases, he or she will be subject to recurrences, i.e. the return of more or less severe depressive episodes, separated by several months. Even if we are tempted to believe that the person “heals” between episodes, the reality is more nuanced, and residual symptoms are frequently observed after the episodes themselves. Sleep disorders, feelings of fatigue, loss of appetite or, on the contrary, binge eating, sensitivity to stressful social events, pessimism, loss of self-esteem, lack of motivation or investment in daily activities: any of these signs (sometimes several combined) can indicate that “something” is still there. What can be done to avoid falling back into a real episode of depression?

For the prevention of recurrent depression, psychiatry has a therapeutic arsenal that includes antidepressants, but also psychotherapies, among which cognitive-behavioral therapies have best demonstrated their effectiveness.

For more than a decade, meditation for depression has gone from being a spiritual discipline to a cognitive and affective activity capable of providing a series of benefits for both the body and the mind, both for the general public and for health care providers. Its therapeutic power, in the face of serious pathologies such as depression, but also bipolar disorder or eating disorders, is beginning to be evaluated according to scientific methods in psychiatry.

In the specific case of depression, understanding the action of meditation requires a careful analysis of how depressive episodes occur and recur.

Meditation For Depression

Can meditation ease depression?

Several studies demonstrate the long-term effectiveness of relaxation methods in people suffering from depression.

According to an American study published in April 2017, the practice of yoga would reduce the symptoms of depression (stress, anxiety, negative thoughts …) in the long term. Yoga, which includes breathing exercises, relaxation, meditation …, would be an effective therapy on mental health in addition to antidepressant treatment, especially since the benefits seem to increase over time.

Another study from the University of Oxford in April 2015 shows that a therapy based on mindfulness meditation is an alternative as effective as a drug treatment in the prevention of relapse depression. Mindfulness meditation is now being integrated with hospital patients. The MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) meditation program, specially adapted for people suffering from depression, would reduce the risk of relapse by half at one year. Another program, MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction), aims to reduce stress and anxiety.

Meditation for depression

Scientific proof

A group of British researchers sought to test the two types of treatments in parallel. The team, led by Willem Kuyken, professor of psychology at Oxford University, evaluated the effectiveness of meditation versus antidepressants in a “double-blind” trial, a method that allows for rigorous comparison of two treatments. Four hundred and twenty-four patients who had suffered at least three major depressive episodes in the past were treated with either meditation or antidepressants.

At the end of a follow-up of more than two years, both “treatments” proved “positive” in avoiding or delaying relapse but without establishing the superiority of meditation over antidepressants in terms of effectiveness and cost, the study reveals. However, the authors believe that “this study, added to previous work, provides strong evidence of the effectiveness” of mindfulness meditation “for patients who want an alternative” to antidepressants.

An independent psychiatrist in the study, Roger Mulder of the University of Otago in Christchurch, New Zealand, also believes that mindfulness-based therapy is an “effective alternative” for those who “cannot tolerate” antidepressants. “We have a promising new treatment that is reasonably cheap and applicable to a large proportion of patients at risk of depression,” he says in a commentary published by The Lancet.

Meditation For Depression

How does meditation for depression work?

Meditation for depression? If you’re still feeling a little doubtful at the suggestion, you’re not alone. You could even think it seems like a proposal from individuals who say sadness will improve if you just “Smile more!” or “Think positively!”

Certainly, meditation alone won’t make your symptoms disappear, yet it can make them more sensible. This is the way:

It helps change your reaction to negative reasoning:

Depression can include a ton of dim thoughts. You could feel miserable, useless, or furious at life (or even yourself). This can cause contemplation to appear to be to some degree outlandish since it includes expanding mindfulness around considerations and encounters.

However, meditation for depression helps you to focus on considerations and sentiments without condemning or reprimanding yourself.

Meditation for depression doesn’t include driving away these considerations or imagining you don’t have them. All things considered, you notice and acknowledge them, then, at that point, let them go. Along these lines, reflection can assist with upsetting patterns of negative reasoning.

Let’s assume you’re imparting a quiet second to your accomplice. You feel cheerful and cherished. Then, at that point, the thinking, “They will leave me,” comes into your brain.

Meditation for depression can assist you with reaching a point where you can:

  • notice this thought
  • accept it as one possibility
  • acknowledge that it’s not the only possibility

Rather than understanding this thought with something like, “I’m not deserving of a decent relationship,” meditation for depression can assist you with letting this thought cross your mindfulness – and continue onward.

Meditation helps you learn how to manage depression more effectively

Figuring out how to remain present at the time can prepare you to see advance notice indications of a burdensome episode right off the bat.

Meditation for depression can make it more straightforward to focus on your feelings. Thus, when you start encountering negative idea examples or notice expanded peevishness, weariness, or less interest in the things you normally prefer to do, you could decide to zero in on taking care of yourself to hold things back from deteriorating.

Meditation For Depression

3 meditation exercises for depression

Mountain Meditation (20 minutes)

  • Take a seat as if for sitting meditation. Take time to check your posture, dignified and upright.
  • Visualize a mountain that you love or imagine. Detail the top, the sides, and the base of this mountain.
  • Little by little, pretend you are that mountain. Your head is the top, the sides are your sides, and your seat is the base.
  • Feel the strength of this mountain, of the rock. Observe the meteorological phenomena that pass over it as you observe the psychic phenomena that cross your mind. You, you are always there, solid as the mountain.

Embellish your daily life (10 minutes)

What do you do on a typical day?

  • Take a sheet of paper and write down everything you do from the time you get up to the time you go to bed, throughout a normal day: waking up, breakfast, getting ready for school, getting to the office, reading your emails, first meeting, coffee break, etc. List all your activities, don’t forget any.
  • Put an “R” in front of the activities that recharge you and a “P” in front of the ones that “suck” the energy that cost you.
  • Think about it: How can you decrease the “P” and increase the “R”? You can’t control certain aspects of your life, accept that. But choose to reduce as much as possible the things that drag you down.
  • The seasons, the rain, the gusts, the wind, the hail, the frost, the sleet are unpleasant on the mountain. But you know that it doesn’t last and that the solidity of the mountain will not be affected.

The resource activity

This exercise invites you to discover THE practice that makes you feel good, the one you can turn to when you’re feeling down and out. Take a moment to sit down and do the “A few minutes to cope” exercise

Choose an activity that makes you feel good and that you can do with mindfulness, becoming a witness to yourself. Either an activity that rejuvenates you, such as taking a bath, watching a movie with your spouse, ordering a pizza with the kids, calling a friend, cooking, listening to music, giving yourself a massage, etc. Or an activity that gives you a sense of mastery and control, such as putting away a drawer, making an appointment, doing a small task in the garden, changing a light bulb, completing an administrative procedure, etc. Sure, the activity isn’t glamorous, but it makes you feel like you’re back in control!

Tips and tricks

There’s no set-in-stone manner to practice meditation for depression. On the off chance that you’re searching for a few additional pointers, however, these tips can help.

Meditation For Depression

Practice at the same time every day

Making meditation a habit can help your success.

It’s OK to begin little. Indeed, even 5 minutes daily can help. Attempt meditating for depression on 5 minutes consistently during a period that functions admirably for you.

Perhaps you do a body filter in the shower each day or do a sitting reflection just before bed. Perhaps it’s the final thing you do before getting into bed every evening. You could need to try a couple of scenarios before you find the best one to practice meditation for depression.

When you find the right methodology, you’re bound to stay with it.

Use a mantra

Your consideration will here and there meander, that is only guaranteed. Assuming you find it difficult to bring your concentration back, using a mantra could help.

Pick a basic expression you feel happy repeating it all through your reflection practice, similar to “I’m calm.” Even one as straightforward as the customary “om” can assist with expanding your concentration.

Be creative

Perhaps a seated meditation doesn’t work for you. Assuming you’re a functioning individual, you could like to meditate while strolling or in any event, getting some more serious movement.

However, as long as you’re protected, you can reflect on the go. Work on centering your mindfulness all through your body, on the rehashed movement of your arms, legs, or other dynamic body parts.

Indeed, even taking your contemplation outside can assist you with having more achievement. Nature offers a ton of medical advantages and the calming hints of the regular world can offer an incredible setting for reflection rehearses

What To Conclude?

Meditation is a proven method for dealing with depression. It’s a simple and easy way to change your life. When you meditate regularly, you become a more peaceful person. You start to see things differently.

Meditation helps you control your negative emotions. It’s the perfect way to handle any kind of stress. There are many forms of meditation. They all work in the same way.

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