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Depression and Meditation


If you have been fighting a bout of the blues for an extended period of time, a doctor may well diagnose you with depression. Along with their prescription, there are many natural alternatives that may assist you in the healing process, such as the practice of meditation. Read on to find out more.

What is Depression?

Depression, sometimes referred to as clinical depression, is a mental illness that entails an overwhelming sense of sadness, loss and hopelessness. Bouts of the condition may span from weeks to years, and may sometimes cause the sufferer to despair so greatly they no longer want to live.

What is Meditation?

Meditation calms the thinking mind and increases awareness by creating a sustained focus and insight through observation. It promotes a natural state of reflection in which the mind is then able to contemplate (looks around) what it is meditating on, separating the self from external factors and allowing a person to disengage from thoughts which are often negative and self-destructive.

Meditation Techniques

Whilst there are hundreds of meditation techniques available to practice, all fit into either for the following categories:

  1. Concentration meditation, where the mind is focused on a specific object. When the mind wanders into old thought patterns, the individual’s focus is brought back to the selected object.

  2. Mindfulness meditation, where the mind is focused also on an object or a process such as the breath, a mantra or visualisation.

  3. Transdental meditation, in which the individual experiences a shift in consciousness or physiology.

How Does Meditation Help Alleviate Depression?

Those with depression know too well the excessive stream of negative thoughts that recycle endlessly in the mind. And it’s when a person over-identifies with this negative stream of thinking that feelings of hopelessness, sadness, anxiety and isolation arise (this is known a Rumination).

By shifting brain activity from the stress-prone, right-frontal cortex of the brain to the more calming left frontal cortex, meditation allows a person to disengage from their thoughts, bringing to them an awareness, acceptance and mindfulness that allows them to understand who are they is not really what they “think”.

Benefits of Meditation for Depression

For people with depression, meditation is an especially useful tool that leaves them full of positive feelings. It also creates clarity that allows the person to see things for what they really are, and also a more constructive and confident attitude to change the things they do not like. Meditation also carries no side effects, doesn’t involve any doctors or counselors and is affordable to all.

Other benefits of meditation include:

  • Decreased feelings of anxiety
  • Decreased feelings of sadness
  • Decreased moodiness and irritability
  • Heightened concentration levels
  • Enhanced memory
  • Increased feelings of happiness
  • Increased emotional stability
  • Increased feelings of well being and vitality
  • Increased self-awareness

Physiologically, meditation may benefits a patient of Depression by:

  • Reducing the heart rate blood pressure often accelerated in times of stress and anxiety
  • Reducing blood cholesterol levels that may be high due to excessive amounts of Cortisol (the “stress hormone”) in the bloodstream
  • Increase skin resistance and therefore support the immune system that can often be compromised when experiencing Depression
  • Increasing airflow to the lungs, alleviating breathing difficulties often experienced by those experiencing depression, stress or Anxiety

Meditation Tips

For best results try and meditate daily for 10-20 minutes per day. When it comes to reaping the rewards of meditation, consistency is key. Look for a quiet place and a time in which you do not have to hurry when practicing meditation, allowing you to take your time and for meditation to calm your mind and body.

Find out about other effective natural depression treatments.


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