Meditation is becoming very popular in the west, with its proponents being some very popular stars and celebrities. But can meditation cure depression? Is meditation all that its cracked up to be for the mind? Let us find out in the article below.
Major Depressive Disorder, popularly known as depression, is a very concerning medical illness that affects your feelings, thinking, and the way you react to a situation.
The only good thing about it is that this disorder can be cured with expert guidance, but until then, the illness directly controls and manipulates the sufferer’s feelings, thoughts, and actions to their extremes.
Depression can make you abhor an action you used to love to do. It can drive your thoughts in vicious loops leading you towards severe and unreal conclusions. It can seriously affect one’s emotional and physical functionality.
Does Meditation Help With Depression?
Thankfully, there are plenty of options available to help someone suffering from depression to get back on track and live their life to its fullest. Meditation is one such technique that helps you focus your thoughts and energies on positive things and reduces the effect of depressive thoughts.
Meditation is known to bring you peace, harmony, and tranquility within ourselves. The practitioners and people who believe in meditation find that no negativity can linger for long once your thoughts are centered. Meditation is one of the most effective remedies to deal with depression.
Gradually, many people are learning the benefits of meditation in self-care. Depression causes discord in the human mind, and meditation is a way to retain inner peace
Regular practitioners of meditation claim that through meditation, one can gain the courage to encounter negative thoughts. It also helps you focus more on the positive aspects of life, and if one follows the way of meditation with utmost sincerity, they can gain control over their minds.
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Benefits of Meditation for Depression
It helps change your response to negative thinking:
Meditation is a practice where one is advised to have faith in themselves while trying to get away from the shackles and traps of negative thoughts, feelings, and actions.
This practice allows you not to ignore negative thoughts, and instead, it lets you learn to change the way you react toward negative thoughts. It helps you remember that every person has their own unique pace of growth, every person is entitled to their thoughts, and everyone is a whole in their way.
1. It helps you learn how to manage depression more effectively:
Meditation leads you to the courage you lack when suffering from depression and self-doubt. The purpose of meditation is to ensure that your inner peace is not at stake whenever you encounter a situation that makes you feel afraid.
Meditation does not impel you to ignore your issues, nor does it promote outrage; instead, it says not to let anyone or anything disrupt your inner peace when you feel overwhelmed in a situation.
Meditation teaches you techniques of effective depression management while considering all your experiences valid.
2. It helps stimulate the vagus nerve:
The vagus nerve is the essential component of the parasympathetic nervous system. This nerve connects the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and keeps the internal bidirectional connection.
The vagus nerve looks after various critical biological systems, including digestion, heart rate, etc. It can even affect and manipulate the mood of that person.
When someone is suffering from depression, this chain process gets continuously disrupted, but with the help of meditation, one can get cured of it. Meditation has been shown to stimulate your vagus nerve and thereby improve your overall mental and physical health.
3. It could alter the brain’s shape and size:
Scientific studies have shown that proper mindfulness meditation can affect the shape and size of your brain. Scientists have proven that mindfulness practices have successfully increased the thickness of the human cortex in the area called the hippocampus.
This area controls the section of memory and learning, and in some areas known for emotional stability and self-control. The cell volume of the amygdala is also reduced in number.
There was no disparity when the participants of this program went through some tests to see if these physical changes did cause any change in their health or not, and the results were affirmative.
4. It may reduce inflammation:
Studies have shown that conscious meditative practice can help the practitioner prevent immune malfunction and inflammation. Meditation can also help in reducing the interleukin-6 level in the bloodstream.
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Types of Meditation That Can Help Deal With Depression
1. Mindfulness meditation:
Here the focus should be on training the mind to be present in the present time. The practitioners are advised to let go of the obsessions and unforgiven situations from the past and the uncertainties about the future.
2. Breathing meditation:
In this branch of meditative practice, the emphasis falls upon the breathing style and pattern of the practitioner. Breathing at a steady and low pace while suffering from overwhelming emotions helps you to lower the cortisol levels and eventually get relieved from anxiety.
3. Body scan meditation:
In Body scan meditation, the practitioner is supposed to focus on a single part of the body at a time while shifting the focus steadily to the other body parts in an orchestrated sequence. In this process, you let your mind focus on various body parts and learn about how they feel individually without reacting to any response.
4. Loving-kindness meditation:
This specific branch of meditative practice considers that one can achieve mental stability by manifesting an expression of love towards oneself, which will help the practitioner revive their broken spirit and low self-esteem.
5. Walking meditation:
Walking meditation, also known as kinhin meditation, is a meditative technique that suggests the practitioner notice their physical movement very minutely and experience being in a meditative state. It improves the awareness and the sleep quality of the practitioner.
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How Do I Meditate for Depression?
Research has shown that effective meditation practice can significantly work on the mission of curing anxiety and depression. Any meditation is a method of active brain programming. There are various kinds of meditative practices available globally.
Still, no magic formula can point out any one branch of meditation to be more effective than the other. The decision is very much subjective. But whichever kind of meditative practice one gets into, and one needs to follow the respective rules attentively. It is better to get guidance from the experts in that field to get a clearer idea of how the experience will be.
You can learn meditating from an expert in the field or a guru. You can also start meditating by listening to some audio or watching videos. However, here are some simple steps that can help you meditate for depression:
Step 1: Get Comfortable
Sit on a yoga mat, or lie down to get comfortable first. Now close your eyes and relax every muscle of your body.
Step 2: Breathe gently
The next step is to breathe gently. Gently inhale and exhale through your nose. Feel the sensation when you inhale and exhale and pay attention to the sound. While doing so, it is normal for your thoughts to wander but try to bring them back.
Step 3: Shift from breath to body
After you have gained control over your breathing, it’s time to shift your breath to your body. Scan each part of your body through your breath. You can go from top to bottom or bottom to top.
If you feel pain in any part of the body, remember it so that you can do visualization meditation to get rid of the pain. Relax each body part with each breath and loosen any tight muscle. After you have scanned every body part, slowly open your eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What type of meditation is best for depression?
There is no specific type of meditation that works for all kinds of depression. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular variants that people, especially those suffering from depression, usually opt for.
2. Can meditation Cure overthinking?
If practiced with proper guidance, meditation can help one get cured of overthinking, but it is no magic formula, so the person suffering from overthinking needs to be patient.
3. Can meditation harm you?
Meditation is a practice to retain inner peace, and so it is supposed to be harmless for the practitioner. But if the practitioner does something risky that is not said in usual meditation, it can cause harm.
4. How long does it take for meditation to work for depression?
There is no cliche answer to this question. It depends upon a person how they practice meditation. Meditating for at least 10 minutes every day can bring a difference, and you can see a noticeable difference within eight to ten weeks.
However, if you are also trying to do other things along with meditation, like proper medication, exercising, etc., you can see better results early.
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Studies show that meditation has mostly been effective on people suffering from depression though it is not the only thing that has worked to cure them in many cases. Hence, yes, meditation can be beneficial for curing depression, but we should remember that it is a process, not a magic spell.
You can also try exercising, listening to music, painting, etc., to get rid of depression and anxiety. Hence, if you are suffering from depression, get expert help today!
Thank you for reading this article, we hope we were able to cover how meditation impacts depression in the human mind. If you have any doubts or questions, please drop us a word in the comments section below.