Updated March 14, 2014.
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, but it can also be used to fight depression.
Mindfulness meditation can help you build your own inner resources and lift yourself into a more positive frame of mind.
The following excerpts show how meditation for depression can help you find some freedom from negative thoughts and emotions.
Insights and Benefits of Meditation for Depression
People who struggle with the blues tend to see sadness as a problem they need to fix. When the emotion wells up, they begin to ruminate over such questions as “Why am I feeling like this? What does this say about me? Will I ever get better?” But the brooding only causes more pain. Meditation can help quiet those thoughts, says psychologist Mark Williams, coauthor of The Mindful Way Through Depression. It teaches the mind to experience emotions without judging them, and people who are vulnerable to depression learn to avoid falling into whirlpools of counterproductive thinking. “As a result,” Williams says, “the sadness tends to dissolve much more quickly than it might have otherwise.”
Karen K. Brees, Ph.D further explains on netplaces.com
“As you practice meditation, you’ll learn to isolate the stressors in your life. In this regard, meditation can be a useful addition to your arsenal in fighting depression. It can help you reframe the way you see your world.”
Dr Madhav Goyal led a study at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, using data from previous cases of patients diagnosed with certain conditions, such as depression. The study was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“In our study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants.” These patients did not typically have full-blown anxiety or depression.
They found moderate evidence of improvement in symptoms of anxiety, depression and pain after participants underwent what was typically an eight-week training program in mindfulness meditation.
“Many people have the idea that meditation means just sitting quietly and doing nothing,” wrote Dr. Madhav Goyal in an email to Reuters Health. “That is not true. It is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.”
Practicing meditation for depression can help you focus on the present and refocus your negative thoughts.
Have you practiced meditation for depression? Share your tips with others who could benefit.