Meditation can help with Depression
Meditation can help with Depression
Depression is something much more then feeling a bit down, unhappy or fed up. We all have bad days, ups and downs, genuine disappointments and inevitably have to face at some time the loss of loved ones. That is in the nature of life itself.
Depression is something much more, it stays with you, persistently, each morning when you wake up, each evening when you go to bed, it’s there. It is characterised by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of enjoyment, tearfulness and general loss of interest in day-to-day life itself. What’s more these states of depression can lead into another condition, whereby you experience symptoms of anxiety.
As each person is unique, so are the symptoms each person experiences. Yet as complex and variable as the symptoms may be, common patterns tend to include feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest in everyday life.
Typically the symptoms can persist for extended periods of time, weeks, months and even years. If you are feeling ‘down’ for several weeks or more, and these feelings are overwhelming and interfering with your daily life, you may be clinically depressed.
Depression can come on over time, gradually, so it may be difficult to notice it developing. Most people will try and soldier on and cope with the symptoms without realising or acknowledging that they may be ill.
Some of the symptoms include:
* continuous sadness and low moods
* feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
* decreased interest in usual hobbies or activities
* change in appetite, with significant weight gain or weight loss
* loss of energy, feeling exhausted & tired even without doing much
* feeling tearful, crying a lot
* feeling guilt-ridden, guilty thoughts
* constant irritability or tension
* decreased ability to make decisions, get things done or concentrate
* feelings of low self-esteem, worthlessness
* not getting any enjoyment from life, unable to ‘look on the bright side’
* having suicidal thoughts, thoughts of ending it all, thoughts of self harming
* finding it hard to be positive about the future
Benefits of Meditation in Depression
A study conducted in 2001 at the University of Exeter in England, showed that Sahaja Yoga Meditation has a therapeutic effect on the symptoms of patients with depression and anxiety.
24 patients with depression & anxiety were divided into three groups: a group receiving Sahaja Yoga Meditation over a 6 week period, a group receiving the conventional behavioural treatment for depression, i.e. cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and a control group that received no treatment.
The group treated with Sahaja Yoga Meditation compared to the non-treated group showed a statistically significant reduction in the symptoms of anxiety, depression and general mental health.
At a trend level the Sahaja Yoga Meditation group also showed improvements compared to the group treated with CBT.
Although the original goal of Yoga and Meditation is spiritual growth, important therapeutic side effects on physical and mental health have attracted medical research across the world.
The state of thoughtless awareness experienced in Sahaja Yoga has thus been shown to elicit important beneficial changes in the body and the brain and has therapeutic effects on a wide range of disease processes.
Morgan A. (2001): Sahaja Yoga: An ancient path to modern mental health? Transpersonal Psychology. Transpersonal Psychology Review 4:41-49.
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