The Usefulness of Meditation in Depression Treatment
July 25, 2021
Giving your mind a break by meditating can help ease depression. People experiencing depression commonly feel sad or lose interest or pleasure in their normal activities. Often those experiencing a depressive event, have problems sleeping, feel irritable, find it hard to concentrate, notice a change in their appetite, isolate themselves from others, feel low energy, etc. Depression affects a person not only psychologically but physically, as well. Depression can cause reduced functioning of the structures in the brain. One of the ways to combat the effects of depression on the brain is to create a meditation practice.
Although meditation on its own is not a cure for depression, it can help clients feel better and provide relief to an often-busy mind. Harvard Health Publishing*, stated that a regular practice of meditation can help the brain deal with the stress and anxiety that causes depression. Resistance to the idea of meditation is somewhat normal in a society that often wants a quick fix. Meditation is not instant, but the work you put into it will be rewarded if you continue the practice.
THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
- Decreases stress by reducing the stress hormone cortisol that is activated during a stressful event.
- Decreases anxiety by reducing the associated stress.
- Reduces negative thoughts.
- Improves self-awareness by helping people understand themselves better.
- Meditation has been found to be like exercise for the attention span resulting in an increase in attention.
- Partially improves memory in patients with dementia.
- Improves sleep.
- Decreases blood pressure.
- Helps in treating addictions.
- Helps control pain.
Step One: Find a private and quiet place and set a timer. At first, you may want to try five minutes.
Step Two: Focus on the present moment and notice the breath. Notice your breath as you breathe in and out. If your mind wanders and starts planning the rest of your day, bring it back to the present without judgment. Just notice what comes up for you. Pretend you are observing yourself from the outside. Return to your breathing. There is no perfection in this practice.
Step Three: Notice your feelings as they arise. Are you bored? Are you frustrated? Just notice what comes up without judgment. Practice accepting the experience exactly as it is.
Step Four: As often as you can, concentrate on your breathing. Continue with the practice until the time ends or you are done.
The awesome thing about meditation is that it is free, and you can do it just about anywhere. You can also find free YouTube videos and apps to use to time yourself and even guide you through meditation. You may find that you prefer guided meditations where a facilitator guides you through the practice. There are guided meditations for different topics that you may find helpful and in line with your goals. Some of the apps that are popular include Calm.com, InsightTimer, Headspace and more. Most of these apps offer some free meditations. Also, being with nature can be a great way to meditate and be mindful. When you are outside, look up at the sky, listen to the birds, feel the grass, pet your cat or dog, and notice what you smell. There are so many ways to practice mindfulness meditation.
I wish you the best as you start your meditation practice!
If you are looking for more information about depression therapy in the Flower Mound and surrounding areas, please contact me for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I would be happy to answer any questions you have!
Melissa Cooper, LCSW!I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with Adults who have ongoing challenges with stress and anxiety. My goal is to help you stop feeling overwhelmed and anxious and instill peace of mind and calmness. I am an authentic, encouraging, warmhearted counselor that can help you become more present and grounded in the moment and actually enjoy it. I provide care for those experiencing high stress, excessive amounts of worry, and feelings of overwhelm in life.