Using meditation as an alternative treatment for depression
December 19, 2021at1:00 PM
Are you struggling to find an effective, long-term treatment plan for your depression? You are not alone. Millions of sufferers across the U.S. have reported that traditional measures such as prescription medication and professional therapy either fail to improve their mental health, are too expensive to be considered sustainable, or cause unwanted side effects.
The battle with depression can be extremely depleting and severely affect the ability of sufferers to maintain a high quality of life. Finding a treatment that works is the difference between life and death for many people. Whether you have exhausted all other treatment options and are looking for an alternative, or you wish to improve your mental health in a natural way, meditation may be the perfect option for you.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a technique that is frequently used in professional counselling sessions. This is a process whereby the patient learns to identify negative thought patterns that may be contributing to their depression and replace them with more positive ones. The key to CBT is taking an objective approach to your thoughts and understanding how they affect your behavior. Meditation is a highly effective way to achieve this mental state. During meditation, individuals are encouraged to detach from their thoughts, and view their inner dialogue with curiosity as opposed to judgement. Throughout this process, meditators often feel lighter, and less affected by their depressive thoughts.
Grounds you in the present
Depression often stems from pessimistic thoughts about the future, or negative feelings about the past. When a person is in this state of mind, such thoughts can be completely draining, which is why many sufferers of depression lack motivation to work, socialize, or tend to their overall well-being. One of the goals of meditation is to ground you in the present moment, and de-emphasize thoughts regarding the future or the past. Many meditators report feeling energized after meditation sessions, and inspired to try new things.
Most meditation instructors aim to center their sessions around gratitude. Throughout this practice, individuals are instructed to let go of negative thoughts and reflect on all of the positive attributes of their lives. By regularly expressing gratitude for the things we have, we are able to increase the flow of positive energy and shift into a better headspace. While positive thinking is not a cure for clinical depression, carving out time in your day dedicated to expressing gratitude is a great way to relieve some of the symptoms of this disorder.
Addresses underlying issues
Those who are able to maintain a strong meditation practice are far more likely to experience emotional breakthroughs. While depression is not always a byproduct of traumatic experiences, external factors can play a role in the way that symptoms present themselves. This is one of the reasons why professional therapy is such an effective treatment for depression. By working through the underlying issues that may be contributing to negative thought patterns, patients are able to address emotions they may have been harboring for a long time. Meditation is an alternative way to connect with your emotions. By quieting your internal dialogue, you may experience moments of clarity that help you process the experiences that led to your current state of depression.