Depression. It plagues so many of us – one out of every five U.S. adults, in fact. Like any mental health concern, it negatively impacts your life day in and day out, and it’s tough to shake on your own. There are many risk factors for developing depression, including genetics, biology, environmental factors, and medical conditions.
One crucial thing to remember is that depression is not your fault. It’s not a choice you make, so you shouldn’t feel ashamed or consider yourself weak.
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Another critical factor in dealing with depression is that you don’t have to overcome your symptoms alone. Depression is very treatable, and getting professional help can get you feeling more like yourself faster.
You’ve heard about psychotherapy and medication management for depression, two highly effective methods of depression treatment. But if you want to lessen your symptoms outside of therapy sessions, meditation for depression can help.
Depression Treatment in San Diego
What is Meditation for Depression?
Your initial response to practicing meditation for depression may include skepticism sprinkled with thoughts of monks “ohming” and chanting. You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but meditation isn’t just for monks or yogis. Anyone can practice meditation for depression.
Mindfulness, meditation, and depression can help you reduce your symptoms and create space within you for what you learn in therapy to work at a more rapid pace.
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In psychotherapy, your therapist will help you explore your feelings, emotions, and things in your life fueling your depression. You’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms and how to pinpoint negative thinking patterns and behaviors attributing to your symptoms.
When it comes to meditation and depression, practicing regularly can help retrain your attention from your pain to focus on the present so you can put the skills and tools you’ve learned in therapy to good use. Focusing on the present and being able to identify how you’re feeling in the here and now is also known as mindfulness.
Meditation for depression allows you to identify your troubling symptoms without judgment and focus less on the negative and more on changing the negative patterns keeping you stuck.
Additional Benefits of Practicing Meditation for Depression
There are plenty of physical and mental benefits of regular meditation, but when considering meditation and depression, there are some pretty astounding benefits. With that said, we’re not saying meditation will cure depression. It won’t do that, but it can help decrease your symptoms and allow you to freely utilize the skills and tools you learn from your therapist.
Some additional benefits of meditation for depression include the following:
It reduces stress.
Stress and depression share a bidirectional relationship meaning one affects the other. So when you meditate, even if only for a few minutes, you can shift your mind’s focus from its natural stress response to a calmer state.
It changes your thinking.
When you struggle with depression, you often experience a lot of negative thoughts.
While meditation doesn’t eliminate these thoughts, it helps you mindfully identify and accept them to shift your thinking more positively.
It stimulates your vagus nerve.
Your vagus nerve is integral to many things within your body, including fear, mood, inflammation, and heart rate. Those with depression tend to have low activity within the vagus nerve. So when you meditate, you can activate it, improving your mood and enhancing relaxation.
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It could change your brain for the better.
Studies reveal that those with depression tend to have an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex which affects social interactions, self-expression, decision-making, and working memory. Studies have also shown that meditation can thicken this part of your brain, leading to better cognitive functioning.
It can lower your chances of depression relapse.
Based on research done in 2016, mindfulness-based therapy can help lower your chances of depression relapse. Beyond that, combining that with meditation could see even more benefits, including lessening your chance of suffering debilitating depression symptoms in the future.
Depression Treatment in San Diego
Types of Meditation for Depression to Try
There are lots of ways to try practicing meditation for depression. Some require a bit more practice, but once you make it a part of your daily routine, you can practice some of them from practically anywhere!
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Here are just a few things you can try.
When you focus on your breathing, you can improve oxygen intake, lower cortisol levels, and focus less on negative thoughts.
- First, take a slow deep breath through your nose and breath it all the way out through your nose or mouth.
- Focus on feeling your belly rise and fall. You can help your focus by placing one hand on your chest and one on your belly.
- When you breathe in, think about breathing in relaxation and calm. Think about ridding your body of stress and pain when you breathe out.
Body Scan Meditation
This type of meditation for depression centers around focusing on your body either from the top down or the bottom up. As you breathe, focus on bringing mindful awareness to each body part. This works better if you do it with your eyes closed.
One study showed body scan meditation to be effective in reducing depression symptoms.
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This is an excellent form of meditation for depression that helps you focus on loving thoughts about yourself and others.
As with any meditation, you need to practice mindful breathing, and while you do, think kind, loving thoughts about yourself and other people in your life. You can try saying things to yourself like, “I deserve to be happy,” or something about others like, “May he feel peace in his daily life.” It’s really a great way to feel happier and healthier.
You already know that walking is excellent for your physical health, but it is also highly beneficial to your mental health. And when you combine it with meditation, you can invigorate your mind and body to feel healthier and happier.
Walking meditation is simply going for a walk, preferably in nature. To take it one step further, leave your phone at home, or put it on silent. As you walk, focus on what you see, smell, and hear. You can also practice loving-kindness meditation while you walk.
Get High-Quality, Effective Depression Treatment in San Diego at BOLD Health
Living with depression isn’t something you need to do. Getting depression treatment in San Diego from our experts at BOLD Health can help you navigate your symptoms and build up your toolbox to fight off symptoms.
Plus, meditation and depression don’t have to be two separate entities. As stated earlier, while meditation won’t cure depression, it can certainly help you fight against those challenging feelings and emotions.
Counseling for Depression: How Does it Help?
Our depression treatment options in San Diego include:
At BOLD Health, we value getting to know and understand your situation, including your genetics, biology, and history. Because we invest time in you during your initial consultation, we’ll develop the ideal depression treatment in San Diego to help you overcome depression.
And because we understand the importance of mindfulness and meditation outside of therapy, if you have questions about it, we’ll help you. Whether you need individual therapy or require the more rigorous structure of our IOP in San Diego, we’ll ensure you get the help you need.
Contact us today. It’s never too early to get the help you need.