Depression is a condition that can be truly devastating regardless of how severe or mild the level of depression is. One bright light is that more and more studies are being done in order to shed light on how meditation can be used as an invaluable tool for helping people in dealing with their bouts of depression.
The following are some examples of the most commonly used meditation techniques and how these can help people with this very real problem.
A group of researchers randomly divided study participants into two groups. One group was asked to undergo a health education program while the second group was asked to engage in Transcendental Meditation sessions.
After a period of nine months to one year, all the participants in each group were assessed by using a standard test for depression called the CES-D (Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression) inventory.
Clinical reductions of depressive symptoms of as much as 48% were seen among study participants who engaged in Transcendental Meditation sessions. These results were not evident among individuals who only took part in the health education program.
Researchers say that these results are encouraging and should inspire other experts to conduct more studies that will test the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation in helping patients with clinical depression.
A report from the National Institutes of Health revealed that people who practice mindfulness meditation were found to have as much as 20% improvement in their depression symptoms compared to people who did not practice any forms of meditation. This report was taken from the study which was lead by Dr. Madhav Goyal at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore. Dr. Goyal further revealed that these improvements in the symptoms of depression were similar to the results experienced by people who were asked to take antidepressants.
There are also separate studies which showed that mindfulness meditation can significantly reduce one’s risk of relapse particularly in people who were found to have repeated bouts of depression. Experts believe that meditation can be beneficial for people who are suffering from situational depression, the kind of depression that is caused by external events.
Meditation has similarly proven to benefit people whose depression is deemed organic or caused by chemical imbalances in their brain.
Visual Imagery Meditation
This is the type of meditation that allows an individual to visualize himself in situations that are positive. Visualizing positive situations can help a person change his unconscious thinking to make him more capable of responding in a more positive manner.
Regular practitioners of visual imagery meditation develop a positive attitude towards any situation that they face on a day to day basis. Even if your depression is not caused by lack of self-esteem, visual imagery meditation will still prove to be very helpful.
However, this process of visualization cannot be done successfully without first meditating for relaxation. It is necessary to always start off by putting yourself into a relaxed mode. Some people prefer to engage in this kind of meditation while closing their eyes as they lie down. Initially it may be easier to do this with the help of someone who will talk you through the process.
Perform this visualization imagery for at least 20 minutes and make sure that you do it on a regular basis in order to reap the benefits.
In cases of severe depression, meditation may not be the most appropriate solution. This is because meditation can be a challenging experience and those with extreme levels of depression may have very few inner resources for them to fall back on.
If they fail to achieve the expected benefits of meditation during their first few attempts they might label these experiences as failures that may worsen their feelings of depression.