Updated: Mar 14, 2019
All of us have our moments of feeling depressed. This may be caused by things that happen to us or it may be out of the blue. Either way, much like anxiety, depression can only take us into the deepest places of suffering if we allow our conscious thoughts to go there. Besides friend and family support, talk therapy, and medications, meditation has been proven scientifically to help the symptoms of depression.
Mindfulness allows us to have presence to our mind during the day to notice if we are getting into a depressed mood or a depressed way of thinking. Once we notice this we can have the motivation to nip it at the bud before we get lost in a train of depressed thinking. It is important to feel what we feel and if we have a reason to be upset we don't need to deny that. We can, however, stop ourselves from getting into a cycle of depressed thinking that makes things worse. It may take time to heal, but if we have a method to help us maintain a sober state of mind that does not get lost in our depression we can save ourselves a lot of suffering. We do this by simply observing the depressed feelings arising from an objective and centered place, identifying less with the depressed feeling and more with the centered place you observe it from. From there you can actively center yourself and cultivate positive states of mind like compassion and love for yourself. After this you can maintain this positive energy while experiencing the depression until it dissipates, all the while noticing where your thoughts go and if it is serving you or not. This is meant to be a way of intervention. If you need to feel sad you can just feel sad, without suppressing or resisting it. But if you need relief use the method of mindfulness above.
Cultivating awareness of others by focusing on other's needs instead of your own and having love for other people is a good way to stave off the insular self-oriented tendency depression can sometimes foster in us. Doing active things like volunteer work or being creative in some way can also help. Meditation is the practice of cultivating our sober and centered self by building presence to the moment and feeling into a deeper place in ourselves. Since depression is at its worst in a mind that is easily swayed by depressed feelings and thoughts, a mind that is strong in the face of these is better off. Meditation not only makes our mind come to a peaceful and centered place, but it also cultivates a familiarity with that state which makes it become a stronger and bigger part of us. We don't just feel more peaceful, for after a time of dedicated practice we become more peaceful as a person. We don't just become less depressed in one session but over time we build a resiliency to depression because that centered and peaceful place within us is strengthened.
If you would like to start meditation to help with depression please try the guided meditation on the website tab entitled “Guided Meditation Audio”. Besides that you can also seek out a form of meditation that suits you under “Types of Meditation” on the website. Other guided meditation apps you can download are available under “Suggested Apps”, or contact me for more information via my “Contact” page.
Meditation and mindfulness are essential tools to allow us to cultivate our minds and do something about the difficult situations that take place in our minds. Depression is a hard thing to beat sometimes, but since it happens in our minds it is susceptible to our choices. If we chose to cultivate our minds in a conscious way we can overcome the symptoms of depression with short-term and long-term practice. May you become the master of your own mind through mindfulness and meditation that you may be able to overcome your depression and live a fulfilled life.