Mental illness is rather prevalent throughout the world, and many unfortunately live for years without ever receiving a diagnosis or might not even obtain one at all. Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions with it affecting millions around the globe, and depression recovery is often an overwhelming and daunting journey to embark on for some. Individuals across all demographics are constantly looking for the best and most accessible ways to maintain a positive state of mental health, and meditation is without a doubt one of those methods. We’re going to dive into how exactly meditation is related to mental health and the effects that this ancient practice can have on the mind.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a spiritual practice that dates to at least 5,000 BC, and it has been used throughout various religions over time. In case you don’t know much about meditation, it is the process of becoming in tune and aware of the present moment by quieting the mind and its thoughts through deep relaxation. Breathing exercises and other techniques are often utilized within this practice to heighten the level of awareness within an individual. There is the common misconception that there is only one correct way to meditate, which is often thought of as sitting on the floor with the legs crossed in utter silence. This is nowhere near true, as there are so many different ways that you can meditate – as long as it’s comfortable and works for you. Meditation has proven to have many different positive effects on the physical and mental health of whoever integrates this practice into their life, too.
How it Effects Mental Health
We have a deeper understanding of what meditation is now, but how exact does it affect mental health? Some studies, such as the one done by Johns Hopkins University in 2014, show that regularly practicing meditation can significantly reduce the symptoms that are associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and chronic pain. When it comes to depression recovery, meditation can be a very effective tool for this process and many people who incorporate a mindfulness meditation practice notice great improvements across multiple aspects of their lives. Learning how to live more presently, becoming more aware, and working to calm the mind allows for individuals to obtain a shift in their perspective and worry less about facets that are not in their control. On top of these fantastic mental health benefits, physical changes such as a decrease in the blood pressure, improved digestive function, and an overall immune system boost can be expected when you start meditating more often, as well.
The effect that meditation plays on mental illnesses like depression is still being researched, and likely will for some time. The truly extraordinary thing about meditation – apart from everything else we’ve mentioned – is the fact that it is totally free, accessible, easy to learn (especially with the help of online guided meditations), and there are little to no negative side effects associated with it. If you have never considered meditating to improve your mental health before, give it a solid try and see if you notice any of the incredible outcomes for yourself.