Many people fail to realize the potential benefits of meditation for depression and other anxiety-related ailments. Precisely, meditation exercises can help alleviate grief and anxiety through deep breathing, concentration, the vibration of sounds, and calming effects created in the body through relaxation.
The most basic and straightforward meditation exercise is breathwork. Breathwork enables individuals to focus their minds, shut down negative thoughts, and provide a safe cocoon to escape from depression.
You can practice meditation exercises in multiple ways, from simple breathwork to more sophisticated techniques that require direction, such as guided meditation. The flexibility of meditational exercises — in that they can be done anywhere and at any time — makes them more attractive solutions for depression.
A perfectly executed meditation exercise can drain the mind of negative thoughts. It helps to rid the mind of the many layers of anxiety and depression embedded in the subconscious over time by bringing awareness to our feelings and thinking habits.
In fact, Individuals who regularly practice meditation exercises are better equipped to manage depression, dissipate tension, and reduce the blood pressure of daily life pressures, and as a result, can thrive more readily under adverse circumstances.
Let us examine the most effective meditation exercises and how these techniques can help with depression.
10 Meditation Exercises to Combat Depression
The essence of meditation is to bring calmness to the body and mind. A relatively straightforward process, there are simple procedures an individual can follow to get started.
What’s more, these exercises work remarkably well in managing depression and overall negative energy! Let us explore some of these techniques.
The easy technique is a simple mindfulness exercise that helps manage depression symptoms by providing the individual with a few minutes to unwind and relax. It is a meditation exercise recommended by a renowned spiritual teacher, Deepak Chopra.
The steps are listed below:
- Go to a quiet and peaceful location, preferably a place with minimal noise
- Sit with a proper posture
- Shut your eyes and concentrate on your breathing
- Imagine absorbing positive energy into the body with each inhalation
- As you exhale, imagine expelling negative energy and depressive thoughts from your mind
- Repeat 108 times
Buddhist Meditation Practices for Depression
The remaining nine medication techniques we will explore in this guide have Buddhist origins. These Buddhist techniques are assuredly some of the best meditation techniques for depression because they focus on exploring the inner workings of the mind.
By utilizing these Eastern mediation practices, the individual gains more in-depth insight into feelings like grief and sadness. This awareness helps bring understanding to emotions, thus providing the practitioner with more control over depressive thoughts. Some of the best Buddhist meditation techniques are:
Anapanasati is also known as mindful breathing. Like the Easy Technique, it is one of the prevalent meditation modes aimed at relieving depression by emphasizing relaxation of the mind.
The steps are simple, and the effects are immediately felt. The guidelines for this exercise are as follows:
- Shut your eyes
- Concentrate on your breathing
- Focus on your mind and note when it goes from being mindful to cluttered with thoughts. Give the clutter a name so that once you get lost in your thoughts, you can mention that name and regain control.
- Once your mind reverts to mindfulness, focus on that feeling.
A study by the International Yoga Journal showed alleviating effects of the Anapanasati practice on the incidence of depression.
Smiling Buddha is a reasonably advanced meditation exercise for individuals with a bit more experience. This is a technique that generates feelings of happiness in the practitioner.
Its practice consists of a mix of mudras and mantras that invoke a deep sense of relaxation. It is an excellent meditation technique for depression because it evokes positive emotions like happiness and bliss long after the meditation is over.
The proper way to practice this technique is by smiling. Concentrate on the energy of the smile, and the intention will stimulate certain chemicals in the body that create positive emotions and help alleviate depression.
An ordinary walk can allow you to clear your mind and gain a fresh perspective. This is particularly effective if the stroll is situated in a natural environment like the beach or a park.
Zen walking is effective by providing the individual the ability to meditate on the sensation of movement. The intake of fresh air as you meditate brings calmness to the body and clears the mind.
An individual runs the risk of mental deterioration by staying indoors for long periods. Practicing the Zen walk regularly allows the person to experience inner peace, and as a consequence, relieve symptoms of depression.
An insightful report in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine purports that loving-kindness promotes the feeling of interconnectedness, love, and happiness and is one of the best ways to ward off depression.
It is an activity that highlights the rewards of compassion, be it giving or receiving. To practice this technique, follow these steps:
- Shut your eyes and think of someone; it could be anyone, including yourself
- Picture this person with a smile and happy
- Outline 5 things this person has done in the past that made you feel loved
- Repeat these words “May [insert name] receive love and kindness”
- See this person sending back love and kindness to you
- Repeat this process with as many times as you can muster
Loving-kindness is a gentle way to improve one’s sense of compassion and create feelings of warmth towards others. It is an excellent meditation technique that is effective in treating depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness is not just an exercise. It is a way of life that incorporates many different habits and routines. To practice mindfulness, the individual should let go of his or her habitual thoughts and live in the moment from the perspective of a newborn.
Practicing this technique is an effective way to dispel sadness because it allows one to break the perpetual cycle of stagnancy and depression. According to the NHS, being aware of the present moment enables us to experience the small things we take for granted with more gratitude.
An alternative depression therapy employs the use of visualization for depression under the self-guided meditation technique. Visualization is a method that allows the mind to picture different relaxing images that provide calming effects to the mind as well as feelings of tranquility.
For instance, imagine being on the beach watching the sunset. This scenario fills the mind with positive emotions and breaks the pattern of thinking that sustains depression in the background.
When an individual is depressed, there is a likelihood of losing touch with the present reality. As a consequence, the mind may be filled with negative thoughts.
On the other hand, happiness allows one to enjoy life and live in the moment. Living in the moment also means focusing on the things that are real and discarding psychological phenomena that are conditioned as a result of our past experiences.
The body scan meditation exercise allows one to connect with the body and live in the moment. It is a relatively straightforward exercise to practice and is preferably conducted while lying down.
Follow these steps to achieve desirable results with this technique:
- Start with the feet by zeroing your mind on your feet
- Observe any sensations in your feet
- Relax the muscles wherever there is tension
- Picture yourself breathing air into the feet to make them relax
- Repeat this process all over your body from the feet to your torso, limbs, and head
- Begin the process again and start from the reverse
With an effective body scan exercise, you become more aware of your body and present physical circumstances. This enhances your sensitivity to things like discomfort, pain, aches, and tension.
A body scan (in this regard) doesn’t essentially eradicate pain. Rather, it enables you to leverage the pain as an indicator of negative patterns present in your life and as a tool for further mental growth.
Mantras are sounds that are considered sacred in the Eastern tradition and are ideal for meditation. There are two ways to practice mantras for depression.
The first is the sound mantra. Here are some tips on how to maximize on the sacred power of mantras:
- Shut your eyes
- Concentrate on your breathing
- Repeat the mantra “OM”
- Allow the sound to reverberate through the body
- fixate all your focus on the sound
- Repeat the sound 108 times
The other type of mantra is practiced as a spoken sentence. It can be any sentence you want. For instance, “I feel happy and relaxed.” The purpose is to repeat the mantra while concentrating on the words and their intentional vibration.
Optimism is a multiplier of force, thus making you happy and relaxed. Once you relax, the positive thoughts in your mind will begin to flow outwards and increase in magnitude.
The Transcendental Technique
The Transcendental Technique is a type of meditation that invokes the use of vibrations or sounds. The renowned Yogi Maharishi Mahesh created the technique and brought it to Western followers in the 1960s.
This technique is trademarked, and individuals who desire to practice this meditation exercise will have to pay for it. The transcendental technique is reported to open the mind to a fourth state of being with the first three states known as the waking state, dreaming state, and the state of deep, dreamless sleep.
The essence of this mindfulness exercise is to evolve into another form of awareness and consciousness.
Other forms of Spiritual Meditation
Spiritual meditation for depression is one of the ideal methods for individuals who practice a religious faith, which helps them find solace and peace in their worship of God. Individuals can read the Bible or Koran or any other spiritual text, drawing strength and receiving calmness from the scriptures’ passages.
Benefits of Meditation for depression
There is a link between meditation and alleviation of depression. Meditation puts the mind in a relaxed state and enables it to focus on awareness and positive outcomes through thought control.
Essentially, it helps to balance the chemical compounds in the brain, while improving overall wellbeing. Some of the reasons to use meditational techniques for depression include:
- Alleviates mental health disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Repressed negative thoughts and feelings
- Helps the mind to let go and focus on the moment
- Creates inner peace
- Relieves anger and promotes calmness
- Stops restlessness
- Boosts appetite
- Improves self-control
- Helps to manage insomnia
- Helps with bipolar disorder
Practicing the meditation techniques above is a long-term plan to help relieve depression. Since meditation creates concrete changes in the body, the lasting effects of these exercises will improve your health and life significantly. In fact, most of the exercises are simple and can be done at any time of the day.
At Guards Down, our goal is to help you prioritize your wellbeing and overcome your symptoms, from nausea and insomnia, to trauma and PTSD. Check out our CBD product shop to find the perfect CBD application for your needs.
If you have any more questions about CBD, please reach out to begin your wellness journey. Our mission is simple. Do something!