Meditation Techniques for Depression
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"How to Lift Depression with Meditation" by WikiHow discusses general meditation techniques and specific forms of meditation. The following article provides instructions on how to meditate through a variety of specific techniques so that beginners can follow the instructions and use these meditation techniques right away!
1. Enter a meditative state before there is a decline in mood. Due to instability in mood, a person may experience many “ups and downs” throughout a day. “Depending on the severity of your depression, you may or may not experience bouts of hopelessness that are so bad that you can no longer function normally or control your emotions. Trying to meditate under these conditions can be risky, especially if you have never successfully meditated before. Instead, wait until your mood lifts just enough for you to engage in normal activities, since your mind and body will be most responsive in this state.”
2. Find a quiet place. The need to be in a place without distraction is important. Meditation requires the person to be able to be calm and focused. The guidelines suggest that “If you find silence unnerving, you can play some soft, soothing instrumental music in the background. Music can also help filter out background noise if you live in a busy house and are unable to find a completely quiet spot.”
3. Find a comfortable place to meditate. This can be in a chair, on a pillow or mat, or even in a bath. Whatever feels best and will allow you to relax. In addition, it is also important to have on comfortable clothing. Furthermore, “If your depression is worsened by an anxiety disorder, you may not be able to feel calm by sitting still. In this case, you could attempt to do light physical activity, like walking, as long as the activity makes you feel calmer.”
4. Slow and relax your breathing. To begin, focus on using your diaphragm to move more oxygen throughout your lungs. Slowing breathing helps to relax the muscles in the shoulders, neck and chest.
5. Relax by closing your eyes. Keeping your eyes closed can help get into a more peaceful state. It also helps to allow for the person to focus on their internal and external systems. This incudes thinking, breathing, smelling, hearing, and so on. Closing your eyes helps to focus on the brain.
6. Set aside time to meditate. Meditation can not be rushed if you want to do it properly. It is suggested to practice meditation 15 to 20 minutes each day.
Specific types of meditation:
1. Concentrative meditation: This type of meditation involves focusing on a something specific such as a sound, music or image. This is often suggested for those beginning to learn meditation.
2. Guided Imagery: This technique involves creating an image in your head of a place that is soothing. This image can be of a lake, a mountain, the ocean with its waves, or a forest, to name a few. This scene or image is well designed for those with depression. The author suggests that you “Start by picturing the immediate setting before filling it in with details in the far distance. For instance, if you are in a forest, focus on the image of trees. Once the picture is clear, "look" into the distance of your imaginary forest for other details, like mountains in the distance or small streams. Next, extend the experience to your other senses. Once the visual part is in place, focuses on the smells, touch, and sounds associated with the scenery. For example, you could imagine how wind sounds sweeping through the trees of a forest or the sound of a babbling brook in the distance. You could imagine smelling nearby flowers or feeling cool grass under your feet.”
3. Mantra meditation: This meditation involves silently repeat a calming word, phrase, or sound. An example is use of the sound or word "om,". You can also repeat a simple prayer or sacred word if you are religious.
4. Meditative walking: The guidelines suggest that “While a little on the unconventional side, a meditative walk is the perfect form of meditation for people who suffer from both depression and chronic anxiety or nervousness. Take a walk, preferably somewhere quiet. Do not focus on where you are going. Instead, focus only on the movement of your legs, feet, arms, and breathing. You can combine this form of meditation with mantra meditation by repeating a calming word as you walk, or you can attempt to focus on the physical smells, sights, and sounds you experience on your walk without analyzing them.”
5. Mindfulness Meditation: Studies are showing that the use of mindfulness meditation can help alleviate symptoms of depression and even anxiety. The guidelines suggest the following:
Many studies are being conducted in order to determine if using meditation is an effective alternative to medications or something that can be used in conjunction with meds to help alleviate symptoms of depression and also anxiety. With a continued increase in persons experiencing depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms, studies that are searching for alternative methods of symptom control are beginning to emerge in the field. Meditation is something that is free, easily accessible in most environments and can reduce stress.
- Kim Nygaard
I have used various meditation techniques to battle the effects of depression and stress and anxiety during various periods of my life, and I am certain that most every technique has had positive effects for me, but may never work for you. It has taken me many years to determine what techniques are most effective and repeatedly useful for me. I encourage you, as you learn about meditation, to determine what works and then determine what works best for you as you face the struggles of depression.
Sometimes for me, just sitting at my desk in my very comfortable leather desk chair, with my office door closed and the do not disturbs on the door and the phone, can make for the best quiet time ever. The reflections come more easily and more quickly in the stillness and quiet even though the hustle and bustle is only a few feet away.
When I was younger, sprinting forward on my career path and unwilling to acknowledge stress and/or depression even existed, I enjoyed very much taking my canine companion out for the last trip of the night. Where I lived was far enough away from the light pollution of the city to see the stars in the sky and appreciate the creation and Creator. It gave me peace and provided me with security and even when I talked to my Creator, I did not feel embarrassed or self-conscious. In listening I felt loved.