How Practicing Meditation Can Help Your Depression
Studies have shown that practicing meditation can help with depression. Living with depression can be debilitating, but practicing meditation can help ease how you feel. And lucky for you, we have listed the benefits of meditation to your depression in this post. Read on for more.
What is Depression?
Depression is defined as a major depressive disorder and a common medical illness that negatively affects how you feel . It often causes you to feel a loss of interest in the activities that you once enjoyed. This condition usually leaves you with physical and emotional problems that decrease your ability to function normally at home or work.
And while this sounds bad, don’t worry; there are many ways to help ease it. One of the ways that can help you find your focus again is through meditation. How does this help you? Here’s what we have gathered.
How Practicing Meditation Can Help Ease How You Feel
Meditation is a set of techniques to encourage heightened focused attention and awareness. It is also a technique used to change your consciousness and is beneficial to your well-being and general psyche. But how can this help your depression? Is it worth the try?
Meditation for Depression
If you are not buying that meditation can help your depression, you are not alone. Of course, this is not a magic spell that can cast your depression away, BUT it has proven helpful in many ways.
Depression worsens over time if not given immediate action. As you may notice, the more you ignore how you feel, the more you feel hopeless. But if you choose to take action and get help right away, you can overcome depression in the long run.
You can seek a therapist, take medication or change your lifestyle to address this issue. However, some of the symptoms of depression may linger. It would be best to work on it so you can live a life free from depressing thoughts. It is where meditation can help you.
How Practicing Meditation Can Help Your Depression
The idea of meditation may sound ridiculous when you have depression. But don’t worry, you are not alone. Many people are skeptical when it comes to believing that it can work.
I will be honest with you, the symptoms of depression may not go away immediately, but identifying triggers makes it easier for you to handle your emotions. Here’s how meditation can help you with that:
1. Your response to your negative thinking changes.
Those suffering from depression know how it can be a dark and lonely place to be inside your head. You feel worthless, unvalued, angry, and hopeless for reasons you cannot understand. You also feel anger towards yourself and those who love you. It can make meditation look like the last thing you want to do since it involves being aware of your thoughts and experiences.
However, meditation teaches you to focus on your feelings and thoughts without the need to criticize yourself or pass judgment. It also teaches you to be accepting of your flaws and others.
Meditating does not encourage you to push those thoughts away or pretend that they are not valid. But it teaches you to accept them and to let them go. The practice of meditation helps disrupt this cycle of continuous negative thinking.
Let’s say you are enjoying a pleasant time with friends, then all of a sudden, a thought came into your head, thinking, “they’re all pretending to like me.”
When you practice meditation, you can identify this thought, and brings you to a place where you can accept it as one possibility and acknowledge that it is not the only possibility in this situation. So, instead of dwelling on these thoughts, you can meditate on more positive messages like “My friends love me, and they are true to me.”
2. Meditation is backed by science.
Studies showed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a helpful way to reduce your chances of depression relapse. They have also proven that meditation practices can improve the symptoms of depression as you exercise regularly.
In short, the more you meditate, the more benefits you can get as compared to just practicing it temporarily. Research conducted in 2017 among 181 nursing students found evidence that meditation can have even more benefits for managing depression when done routinely . That said, including meditation in your daily activities has its perks.
3. It helps you manage your depression better than ever.
As I have mentioned above, meditation can help manage the symptoms of depression. When you exercise this every day, you begin to identify the negative thoughts.
Addressing your negative thoughts early on means you can figure out a way to avoid them. Through meditation, you can identify if you are starting to feel tired, irritable, or lose interest in certain activities. Once you notice these in you, it is easier to focus on self-care before your depression worsens.
4. Meditation protects the hippocampus.
One of the most critical parts of the brain is the hippocampus. It is a complex brain structure embedded deep into the temporal lobe. The hippocampus’s role belongs to memory and learning.
Our hippocampus is a vulnerable structure that various stimuli can damage. According to studies, it can be affected by certain psychiatric and neurological disorders. It was also found that people with depression have smaller hippocampus compared to healthier individuals.
That said, practicing meditation for at least 30 minutes for eight weeks can help your brain increase the gray matter in this area, keeping it healthy and protected.
5. It helps your mind be ready for stressful situations.
It is usual for some people to feel anxious whenever something unexpected happens. But if you are already feeling stressed, knowing you will visit your doctor, meditating for a few minutes can help you calm down.
People suffering from depression may not handle stressful situations as quickly as others. But with meditation, you can refrain from acting on the thoughts that make you uneasy.
Instead, you can recognize these thoughts and emotions, acknowledge them, and through meditation, you can gently let them go. It disrupts the negative cycles of depression as you face stress and helps you focus on what needs to be done.
Types of Meditation for Your Depression
There are plenty of options in terms of meditation that you can do for your depression. If you are looking for options on what to practice, here are some of the meditation exercises that you can do:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Loving-kindness meditation
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
- Walking meditation
Overcoming your depression is possible. It’s all about how badly you want to do it. Practicing your mind to focus on positive thoughts is not always easy, but it is possible and achievable.
Choose the meditation approach that will work best for you and practice it regularly. You will notice the changes and symptoms go down as your depression becomes more manageable.
With the help of meditation, you can slowly but surely achieve your goals and free yourself from the clutches of depression.