Does Meditation Really Help with Depression and Anxiety? Curing Depression with Mindfulness Meditation.

Overcome Depression with Meditation; Is it possible?

He had it all – the perfectly sculpted physique, a successful career, bank balance. He married the girl of his dreams in a fairy-tale wedding. And when they started a family… Oh, what a perfect father he was! His social media posts were giving career goals, fitness goals, and couple goals to the thousands of followers who followed him. Everything was perfect… until one day he was found dead in his plush and luxurious apartment with a suicide note lying beside him.

The young and successful man who used to share motivating posts about how to live life to the fullest and achieve all your dreams every morning just decided to move above all these trysts with perfection in every aspect of life! Did he get tired of being too happy and perfect? Or all the glitz and glitters were just a hoax. Or despite attaining everything in life, he suffered from depression?

What is Depression?

This one word – ‘depression’ is making a lot of noise these days particularly in the high and upward moving realms of the society. Until a few days back, the word ‘depressed’ was considered to be a synonym of ‘being unhappy’ or ‘aggrieved.’ However, ever since such ‘unhappy states of mind’ started to lead to more perilous and chronic mental conditions which further caused the person to take his/her life, this ‘unhappy state of mind’ was upgraded to be considered as ‘clinically ill.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association((American Psychiatric Association: Article- What Is Depression? ))– “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable.

Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and home.”

The pattern of depression is certainly different from feeling sad or stressed out due to some mishap or difficulty that may have occurred in someone’s life. It is a mental health disorder triggered by changes in the neural circuit activity.

This is a state of sadness where the patient might not be able to come out of it without proper medical or psychiatric treatment. However, the good news is that it can be treated.

Traditional Treatment versus Mind Training in treating Depression

Traditionally, depression is treated through medication, psychotherapy (talk therapy) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for severe cases of depression, and extreme bipolar disorders. Off late, however, a lot of traction is being noticed towards adopting meditation to cure depression. It has been proved that mindful-based cognitive behavioral therapy has proved to be particularly helpful in treating depression as much as medication.

The vital differences in the overall output of both the procedures are as follows:

  • Medication treated the symptoms of depression and made the patient feel better. However, it failed to uproot it completely. As a result, there was a frequent relapse of the condition.
  • Mindful-based cognitive behavioral therapy attempted to take the treatment a step ahead. The aim was to take the state of ‘feeling well’ to the state of ‘staying well’ or ‘being well.’ This procedure involved extensive mind training procedures to feel and experience the present moment than thinking about it in a judgmental manner by involving memories of past experiences.
  • The mindful-based approach reduced the relapse of depression by 43 percent.

How Mindful Meditation Helps overcome depression?

Sorrow, anger, anxiety or fear comes from the impact of the memory of past incidents or apprehension about the future on our present mood or temperament.

Mindful meditation teaches you to feel your present moment. It helps you to use your senses, viz., your eyesight, your ears, the surface of your skin, and your nose to focus on the immediate occurrences that are happening around you.

Slowly as you realize that the unpleasant thoughts from your past or future, that were tormenting your mind for so long, do not even exist in the current moment, you suddenly feel light and relieved.

As you get trained in mindful meditation, you become stable and more capable of handling unpleasant feelings or thoughts. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.((The mindful way through depression: Zindel Segal at TEDxUTSC))

How Meditation Help to Cure Depression?

Meditation has a very profound impact on the human mind and soul. The actual purpose of meditation is much beyond just curing a diseased mind that is clinically prone to sorrow and distress. Rather, meditation aims at invoking the mightiest and the most invincible power that lies latent at the very core of our mind. It is the power that is the part of the greater universal power that helps sustain and propel life in the most powerful way possible. Here is the complete guide for meditation.

Credit: Posthood

Can Mental Illnesses be created?

Sadhguru says, “Seventy percent of such mental illnesses are self-created apart from a handful of pathological cased that can be attributed to genetic factors.” On the face of it, the remark might sound very rude. However certain human tendencies that trigger negativity in the human mind cannot be denied.

Deliberate Attention Seeking Attitude leads to Depression

Being down and out, physically or mentally has always been the best-known way to get attention from people around you. An ‘ouch’ evokes more care, concern, and tenderness than a ‘hurray!’ As a result, it becomes a human tendency to be under the weather in some way or the other. After all, we all want to feel loved and cared about.

Be it anger, anguish, stress or despair, display of such emotions never fail to get the attention of people who are concerned about us. And this is the very root cause of nurturing negativity in our minds. After a point of time, this develops into a habit. Gradually, this habit reaches a point where it becomes compulsive. Then, there comes a time, when it goes absolutely out of our control. At this time, it is the point of no return.

Respite Come when we learn to take Onus

Sadhguru explains((Insight Into Depression – Sadhguru)) – “Depression means, you are capable of generating a very intense level of negative emotions within yourself. It’s just that the intense emotion or thought that you are generating is working against you instead of working for you.” Now, with that statement, we make a shift from playing the victim towards being responsible for it and eventually be empowered enough to come out of it. And this very shift can only be implemented through meditation.

Certain old world views reverberate through these words –

“you are the maker or breaker of your own destiny.”

Essentially, our well being, success and happiness depends on our own action and thoughts. However, somehow, these words have lost the impact that they used to create earlier. Precisely the reason why illnesses have taken over well being, self-pity has taken over the willpower to take challenges head-on.

So is it a Matter of Choice whether to be Depressed or Not?

Mostly yes, it is certainly a matter of choice. But there is jack. Are you capable of making the choice? Just wanting or having the desire to have a brave and invincible spirit will neither make you empowered nor will it help you to control the functioning of your mind and body.

A human being is designed to be the master of its mind and body. However, in the current situation, we see that it is the other way around. We are under constant peril created by our own bodies and minds. It has come to this point only because we have let go of the incredible practice that helped us to have control over our life energies, our mind, and our soul.

Sadhguru says whatever happens around us, the way we perceive it, happens only within ourselves. Hence, it is absolutely in our hands to control the way we react to it. And the only way to appreciate this fundamental fact of life is to wake up to the power within us. And this can only be accomplished by practicing meditation.

Wellness: Happy state of mind

Wellness is defined as a happy state of mind. Even if we have some physical ailment, as long as we are in a happy and joyous state of mind, we say we are fine. Hence, essentially, physical wellbeing does not matter so much as mental well being. And depression is when this state of happiness cannot be sustained.

“As a child, you are always happy. You need someone to make you sad. However, when you grow up, you need someone to make you happy.” – Sadhguru

Practicing meditation teaches us to find that elixir of life that lies deep within our soul. Once, we can find that never-ending resource of happiness, we will never have any reason to be distressed or depressed ever in our life.

The Ultimate Cure to Depression

The cure to depression is not in the medication which merely provides temporary relief. The cure lies in coming closer to your own self, by looking within yourself.

It is to discover the indomitable power within you and take the reign of your life in your hands. There is no better way known to mankind to achieve it apart from meditation.

Hence, let’s not make depression turn into another epidemic like diabetes, thyroid, and cancer to fuel yet another pharmaceutical wing of the medical industry.

Say – ‘No Thoroughfare’ to depression. Say yes to meditation. Say yes to happiness. Amen!