Although people have been practising meditation for thousands of years, it has gained immense popularity over the last decade as a way to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety. There is ample evidence and studies to prove meditation can cure depression.
In research at Johns Hopkins University, 47 mindfulness meditation studies conducted with over 3,500 participants concluded that the best three uses of meditation are for depression, anxiety, and pain relief.
Presently, antidepressant medications and cognitive behavioural therapy are considered the two most effective treatments for depression. However, researchers have confirmed that meditation can be as effective as these options and can deliver even better results in a few cases.
In this write-up, let’s understand how to overcome depression with meditation.
What Is Depression?
No one is sure what causes depression. According to prevailing theories, it is caused due to neurotransmitter imbalance, underlying health conditions, structural or functional changes in the brain, emotional trauma, genetic propensity, and stressful life or situations.
People suffering from depression struggle with emotions, negative self-talk, uncomfortable physical sensations, and ruminations. Also, they have doubts about the future and regret their past, which can be overwhelming. They find it difficult to find joy in the present.
Some common early signs of depression are:
- A low mood you can’t seem to shake off
- Suicidal thoughts
- Wanting to be alone
- Lack of interest in activities
- Lack of sleep
- Anxiety and irritability
- Changes in appetite
- Trouble concentrating
Anyone facing these signs for more than one or two weeks can have a depression order. Many wonder about the right and most effective treatment for depression.
The most frequently asked question is: will meditation help with depression?
Well, meditation can help manage these early symptoms significantly. If practised regularly, it can help reduce anxiety and stress, which often lead to depression.
Also Read: 5 Tips on How to Stop Overthinking
Meditation for Depression and Anxiety: How It Works?
How to overcome depression?
If you have this question, you are not alone.
Researchers and health experts recommend meditation to improve overall well-being and integrate body, mind, and heart to stay positive. Yes, meditation alone may not be enough to deal with extreme depression, but it can make symptoms and challenging situations manageable.
1. Meditation Protects the Hippocampus
Hippocampus is a part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Meditating for 30-45 minutes daily helps develop grey matter in this area. Those dealing with depression tend to have a smaller hippocampus, and meditation helps increase its strength.
2. Meditation Calms Inflammation
Scientists have associated depression with brain inflammation, which is responsible for anxiety and other mood disorders. Higher inflammation means worsened depressive symptoms, while the latter (stress and poor sleep) increases inflammation, creating a cyclical relationship.
Meditation and yoga asanas can significantly reduce inflammation. According to a 2019 study, those who were engaged in regular meditation and yoga had lower inflammation and stress levels. Being part of an online yoga course will help you achieve the benefits of meditation for depression.
3. Changes Response to Negative Thoughts
Depression often leads to dark thoughts, and one tends to feel worthless, hopeless, angry, and negative. In such situations, meditation helps increase awareness of these experiences and thoughts.
We also learn to pay attention to these feelings without criticising ourselves. Rather than avoiding these thoughts, we accept them, make peace with them, and let them go.
Practice meditation for anxiety and depression at home, and you will learn to notice negative thoughts, accept and acknowledge them, and respond better to negativity by replacing them with positive emotions.
4. Stimulates the Vagus Nerve
The Vagus nerve runs between the brain and abdomen, playing a crucial role in everything from heart rate and mood to inflammation and fear.
Any low activity within it leads to depression. Meditation stimulates the vagus nerve, which regulates emotions and positive self-image. Also, it activates the nerve, which improves mood and a sense of relaxation.
5. Helps Us Manage Depression Effectively
Last but not least. To answer how to get rid off depression, the best way is to learn to manage depression. People suffering from recurrent depression face symptoms that hit in stressful times.
Meditation helps decrease the possibility of such depression relapse. Moreover, it enables us to pay attention to our emotions. So, whenever we feel negative and notice increased signs of fatigue, less interest, and irritability, meditation helps us focus on self-care, so things don’t get worse. We learn to stay in the present and live every joyful moment.
Also Read: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living?
Different Types of Meditation for Depression That Can Help
As we answer how to relax the mind from depression through meditation, it is important to note that expert guidance is important to observe quick and better results.
There is no substitute for professional help, but the following meditation techniques will help you deal with depression symptoms.
- Deep Breathing Exercise
- Positive Self Statements
- Loving-kindness meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Walking meditation
- Heart-Centred Breath
- Practice of Gratitude
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
- Sound Bowl Meditation
- Body Scan Meditation
With an online yoga program, you can learn and practice the right types of meditation for depression and anxiety.
Meditation for Depression FAQs
Yes, meditation has been shown to be an effective tool for managing depression by reducing symptoms and improving overall mood.
Meditation helps to calm the mind and reduce negative thoughts and emotions. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which are often contributing factors to depression.
Different types of meditation can be effective for depression, including mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, and body scan meditation. It’s important to find a type of meditation that feels comfortable and effective for you.
Regular practice is important for the benefits of meditation to take effect. It’s recommended to meditate daily, for at least 10-15 minutes each session.
Yes, it’s normal to experience some discomfort or anxiety while meditating, especially when starting out. It’s important to remember that these feelings are temporary and to continue practicing.
It can take some time for the benefits of meditation to be felt. Some people may experience improvements in mood and symptoms within a few weeks of regular practice, while others may take longer.
Yes, meditation has been shown to be helpful for managing anxiety, stress, and other mental health conditions. To reap the benefits effectively, you can join a meditation course or program.
Depression can hit anyone at any age. At times, one can identify at an early stage, but there are times when people don’t even realise they are suffering from depression. Meditation is an effective remedy to fight depressive symptoms, and the best part is it works for everyone.
When you practice meditation and make it a part of your lifestyle, it is easier for you to challenge unwanted and negative thoughts. You are able to manage stress and keep yourself away from negativity, which often leads to depression.
Guided by an expert practitioner, you can witness results sooner. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional and experienced yoga teacher who can help you cope with the situation.