Mind Your Depression with Meditation

Mind Your Depression with Meditation

You may be struggling with depression that has taken its toll on your daily life. As a result you, your career and those closest to you can be adversely affected. Your doctor may have prescribed medications that seem to temporarily help but often leave you numb, robot-like and foggy. Famous poet, Robert Frost once said, “The best way out is always through.” Sometimes this means without a pill but rather through the healing capability of meditation

The Anti-Depressant Epidemic

Tamping down deep seated depression has become somewhat of a normal practice in American culture. According to a 2011 finding by The National Institutes of Health (NIH), “A new report tracking antidepressant use among Americans from 2005-2008 found that more than 1 in 10 Americans ages 12 and older report taking an antidepressant medication.” This is a sobering statistic that shouts just how dependent our nation has become on the use of pharmaceuticals to address issues that may need to be worked out naturally. This is where meditation, in some cases, could help. In fact, it might just be what certain people struggling with depression need, yet have no idea how to incorporate into their lives.

Just 30 Minutes Per Day

Johns Hopkins Medicine released a January 2014 report (published online January 6th in JAMA [Journal of the American Medical Association] Internal Medicine) that looked at the benefits of meditation for depression and anxiety. It showed that all it may take is thirty minutes per day. For you, this might sound like a time commitment unable to fit into your busy schedule but when you look at the big picture, it could become the most important daily thirty minutes of your life. Lead author of the study, Madhav Goyal, M.D., M.P.H. comments, “A lot of people use meditation, but it’s not a practice considered part of mainstream medical therapy for anything. But in our study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants.” The study used what is called “mindfulness meditation” derived from a Buddhist self-awareness approach focusing on “precise, nonjudgmental attention to the moment at hand.” Dr. Goyal does suggest further study but says that, “Meditation programs appear to have an effect above and beyond the placebo,”

Sitting Still, Quieting the Chatter

To battle your depression through meditation takes work but it is work that can have a lifelong return. “A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing,” Goyal says. “But that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.” Some of the symptoms related to depression that a regimented, daily meditation has been documented at easing (according to an article by Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications) include: GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder, poor sleep, irritability and stress.

Steps for Meditating

•    Choose a quiet, comfortable location.
•    Shut off all electronic devices.
•    Set an exact time you want to meditate.
•    Sit or lie down.
•    Breathe in your nose and out your mouth.
•    Be aware of how your body feels. If it is tight, breathe into each tight location and try to let it release.
•    Do not judge or try to push away feelings that arise but do not dwell on them. Let them enter your mind and then leave.
•    Always return to your breathing as an “anchor” to stop your mind from straying.

As you make a conscious effort to meditate there is a good chance your depression and anxiety may dissipate. Always check with your doctor if you are taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication to make sure meditation is acceptable for your condition. Never discontinue your medication without your doctor’s approval.

 

Image courtesy of tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 



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