Secrets To Meditation For Depression
Secrets To Meditation For Depression
If you’ve ever experienced depression, or know someone that has, then you know just how much it can impact all areas of personal and professional lives.
Depression is estimated to affect 350 million people of all ages worldwide and based on current research it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
While that is certainly disconcerting news, these days not only are there effective treatments for mild or severe depression, recent studies suggests that mindfulness-based meditation is effective at treating anxiety and depression.
How Does Mindfulness-Based Meditation Work?
Mindfulness meditation has been around for thousands of years but has only recently come to the attention of the world at large. It is a form of meditation that trains the mind to pay more attention to the present moment by noticing thoughts and feelings, without getting caught up in them.
It is a simple way to be able to step back from the mind and body, and stay present with what’s going on. This helps prevent being dragged down by thoughts of stress, worry, or negativity that can lead to depression. This simple act of becoming more aware of what’s going on inside our head, or how we are feeling, gives us the power to choose to disengage from them.
Keep in mind though that meditation is not a quick fix or a magic potion that will instantly heal your life. It is a skill that if you take the time to learn it and apply it on a daily basis that has been suggested to be an effective way to prevent relapsing back into depression.
A Simple Mindfulness Meditation To Get Started
For many people mindful meditation is more like a wrestling match than a feeling of peace and calm. It wasn’t until I discovered that the secret to letting it work was to treat all my thoughts and feelings as friends that my meditation suddenly took off in leaps and bounds.
Being compassionate with ourselves in not an easy task when we are used to judging parts of us that we just wish would leave us alone, or go away completely. But that’s exactly what feeds these parts of us and keeps them hanging around. The more we judge our worries, doubts, and fears, the stronger they become.
The simplest way to start out with mindfulness meditation is to find a comfortable place to sit, take a few slow, deep breaths to center yourself, and then close your eyes.
Then just watch or feel your breath coming in and out of your nose. Keep your breathing natural and easy – not forced in any way. Just watching your breath come in and go out. If you notice that your mind wanders (and it will) to thoughts or feelings of the past or future – just allow them.
No matter how intense or uncomfortable they may be, simply acknowledge them, and then gently bring your attention back to observing your breath coming in and going out of your body. If it helps, keep your focus on your nostrils as this is where you will feel your breath the most.
Do this for up to 20 minutes if you have the time. If not, do whatever amount of time you have. Even 5 minutes will bring noticeable results. Then, when you are finished watching your breath, lie down and be still for a minute or two and let your mind and body relax deeply.
Just like most things of value in life, the real payoff comes with practice over time. If mindfulness meditation feels right for you, then make it a part of your daily routine. It’s best done in the morning as soon as you get out of bed, but anytime you can do is better than none. Even if you can only start with 5 minutes a day, that’s perfectly okay. It’ll bring you a better result than meditating once a week for 20 or 30 minutes.
World Health Organization (2015)
Clinical Psychology Review 33 (2013) 763-771
Michael Atma is a best-selling meditation and personal development author of Master Your Mindspace, which is a revolutionary fitness book for the mind. His books, seminars and online courses have touched the hearts and changed the lives of thousands of people seeking more happiness, health and fulfilment. Recently, he launched home to his Meditation Made Simple Program, where you can change your life in just 5-minutes a day. Find out more: www.mindspace.club or check out Michael’s website.