How Meditation Can Help To Relieve Anxiety And Depression
Depression is an incredibly complex disease caused by a combination of biological, psychological and sociological factors. Living with depression or anxiety can make everyday life a challenge. Depression tends to make people feel worthless, while people with anxiety are prone to excessive worry. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, chances are, negative thoughts are swirling around your head all day and causing you great emotional pain. Meditation is a great method of observing those thoughts.
How can Meditation Help?
Depression is deeply rooted in fears about the future or regret about the past. Meditation helps you focus on the present, and that’s the secret behind its power. Meditation teaches us to be aware of our negative thoughts which helps to get rid of them. When we become witnesses to the thinking process, the meditative mind simply watches the negative thoughts and lets them go. Watching ourselves think helps us see that thoughts are not reality and they do not have any power on our mood or emotional state unless we allow it.
A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) internal medicine has revealed that mindfulness and meditation may rival medication in treating depression. Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Psychiatry research, put 70 adults suffering from anxiety in two groups. One group received mindfulness based stress reduction as a coping technique, while the other group didn’t. The results showed that the participants who learned mindfulness techniques showed much lower levels of a specific indicator of stress in the body. Chronic worriers usually have heightened activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain that regulates emotions.
Neuroscientists at Stanford University discovered that people who practiced mindfulness meditation for eight weeks were more able to turn down the activity in this area. Researchers also found that mindfulness can physically reduce the number of neurons in the fear triggering part of the brain. Furthermore, meditation does not carry any side effects, unlike drugs.
Practical Ways to Use Meditation
The first thing you should bear in mind is that everybody can meditate. A lot of people associate meditation with the image of a sage sitting still, totally unaffected by everything happening around him. The truth is that getting to that level, takes years and years of constant practice. The first step is to believe that you can meditate, and then take it from there. The focus of meditation is to train the brain to stay in the moment. To do this, you have to let go of the regrets of the past and anxiety about the future. Here are some ways you can use the practice of meditation to relieve your anxiety or depression.
This involves paying attention to your thoughts and emotions. Start by sitting in a quiet room and focusing on your breath. Thoughts will inevitably pop up, but the key is not to get frustrated or push them away. For example, if you’re meditating and you start to think about something that causes you a lot of anxiety, take note of it but don’t get frustrated. The thoughts won’t disappear, but you will learn to separate yourself from them.
Body Scan Meditation
Body scan meditation is the practice of placing hyper focus on one area of the body at a particular time. Body scan meditation helps you focus on how you feel in the present moment. This will help you feel more relaxed. To do this, lie down, in a comfortable place, set your intention, scan through your body, and take note of how you feel. Meditation can be very effective in treating depression and anxiety, but you should be aware that it is only one part of what should be multiple approaches to treating depression. Meditation should be used in conjunction with therapy and possibly other traditional methods to treat depression properly.
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