It is a harmful condition that splits families, friends and colleagues. Most people suppress their depression because it is not “socially acceptable”. People feel they have something “wrong with them” and are afraid to share. The suppression just makes it worse.
My experience with depression has been very intimate since my early 20’s. In my second year of university, I started to feel life was pointless. I was merely just floating with no motivation to eat, to study or to work. My close friend, seeing my condition deteriorating, got me an appointment with a therapist.
Leslie, my therapist, introduced me to the world of meditation. It took a lot of patience to understand. I was nervous and scared at first. I was unraveling strong feelings and emotions. The feelings were overwhelming but gradually I was able to calm my thoughts.
Now that one of my closest family members is dealing with depression, I reflect back on my journals to find out what meditation practices helped me.
Caution: Each person has a different way of dealing with depression. I want you to remember that no matter how hard it will get, you will make it through. Your friends and family will support you. If you have a genuine chemical imbalance, then seek assistance from a psychiatrist.
Open your mind
Let go of any expectations. Push judgmental thoughts in the garbage. Just trust me on this. Meditation will help you. It won’t be easy. It won’t be fast. But meditation will be your greatest weapon against depression.
Meditation techniques for Depression
There are many different kinds of meditation techniques. They vary in practice and style but have the same underlying meaning. 2 meditation techniques that I practice are:
- Mindful Meditation
- Metta Meditaton
Mindful mediation has been known to help people through depression. In a preliminary study, researchers found mindful meditation help reduced depression. The subjects meditated daily for 15 – 30 minutes and journaled their experience.
So what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being present in the current moment. Mindfulness accepts everything that happens either it be love or feelings of insecurity. Mindfulness is awaking the mental awareness within. This awareness helps the mind to let go of any harmful thoughts or feelings.
Mindful Meditation Technique
- Find a place without distraction.
- Sit down or lie down.
- Remove any tension from your body. If you have a tight belt, then take it off. Get comfortable.
- Close your eyes. Focus the mind on your feet. Wiggle your toes, tigthen your feet and release.
- Flex your upper legs and hip area. Try to stiffen them and hold for 2 seconds. Inhale deeply. Exhale and release the tension.
- Focus on your chest, shoulders, neck and face. Release any tension from those areas. Inhale deep and stick your chest out as fast as you can. Exhale and come back to initial position.
- Inhale deep. Hold for 3 seconds.
- Exhale Fully.
Tips for focus:
- Focus your mind on the sensations of breathing. Is the air cold or warm? Does it carry a scent?
- Tune into the sounds around you. Can you hear the humming of birds, or the wind blowing?
- Feel the ground you are sitting on. Touch the fibers of the carpet. Are they comfortable? Are the bristles hard and stiff?
Metta meditation challenges depression head on. Metta meditation is about embracing the positive and love.
Depressive thoughts are always negative and focus on everything that is bad about in life. Metta meditation brings perspective of gratitude in the mind.
Instead of thinking about all the negative stuff that is happening in your life, you can reflect on the positive. Metta Meditation changes the mind with compassion, love and joy .
Suffering and sadness are just as much part of life as happiness. That’s why Metta meditation is not about escaping from sadness but accepting it. Once accepted it becomes easier to move past.
Metta Meditation Technique
- Find a quiet area in your home or just stay seated in your chair.
- Close your eyes.
- Inhale deep through your nose.
- Exhale out through the mouth.
- As you inhale say “Let”.
- As you exhale say “go”
Once you have accomplished a rhythm, try repeating some gratitude affirmations. Keep them simple. Some Metta Affirmation examples:
- I am thankful for having a chair a to sit on
- I am thankful for using the internet
- I am thankful for having food to eat
- I am thankful for having clean drinking water
Once you have repeated these, try to focus on someone who has gone out of there way to help you.
- I appreciate all the help my brother/sister/parents/friends have given me.
- I appreciate my friend Ray for always helping me.
Here is the guided version of Metta Meditation I recorded.
Meditation is not always the key
There will be times when meditation will not be the answer to the problem. Those will be the times when you feel extremely vulnerable and isolated. Just trying to meditate will be a frustrating task that will soon leave you angered. If you are finding it very hard to control your thoughts please call the Hopeline here: 1-800-SUICIDE (1 – 800-784-2433)
Meditation has proven itself to help people with mental conditions and deep depression. It still remains a top choice for therapist and psychiatrist to recommend. Just remember that meditation techniques are not the end goal of depression but a tool to get through depression.
If you want more information or want to talk, then feel free to drop me a line in the comments.
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