Meditation to Reduce Depressive States - Aura Wellness Center

Meditation to Reduce Depressive States

meditation for depressive statesBy Kimaya Singh

Is it possible to practice meditation for depressive states? For thousands of years, sages have taught that meditation increases positive emotions and decreases a negative mindset. In our chaotic modern world, we use the word “depression” to describe a wide gamut of conditions ranging from temporary blues to disabling illnesses. Since it means so many things to so many different people, statistics dealing with diagnosis, symptoms, and treatments can be confusing or even misleading. While mild forms of depression often respond well to healthy diets, exercise, and meditation, others are more resistant to treatment and less likely to go away on their own.


About Clinical Depression

Clinical depression can cause feelings of hopelessness, despair, sadness, even suicidal thinking. Although the proper medication can save lives, antidepressants often have side effects and may be dangerous, especially for pregnant women and children. Relapses are common when patients stop taking their medication, and healthy alternatives are the focus of continuing research.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Recent studies show that, in some cases, meditation for depressive states may be a good alternative. When scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario explored the use of MBCT, or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, as a replacement for prescription drugs, they found it helped participants regulate emotions; recognize triggers and signs of relapse; and balance their lifestyles and moods.



According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, doctors treated all 84 participants in the study with antidepressants until their depression went into remission. Then they divided them into three groups:

One group took placebos.

Another group stayed on antidepressants.

Additionally, one group stopped taking medication and practiced MBCT.

After 18 months, they made the following discovery:

• Those on placebos had a 70% rate of relapse.

• Those who stayed on antidepressants and those who practiced meditation for depressive states experienced a relapse rate of around 30%.


About Transcendental Meditation Results

Other studies examined the use of Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of veterans suffering from PTSD-related symptoms. Findings published in the June 2011 issue of “Military Medicine” show that TM increases the activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, the area involved in the regulation of emotions – an indication that meditation helps to reduce the “fight or flight” response and triggers the release of endorphins.

Preventing Frustration

While mindfulness and mantras appear to minimize depressive states, it may be best to avoid styles that are too challenging or those that encourage rumination. Practices that agitate the mind or cause frustration may actually increases feelings of helplessness and failure. Meditation for depressive states doesn’t have to be complicated. A state of awareness and the use of proper breathing techniques, will restore vitality, reduce anxiety, and balance emotions.



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Related Studies

Astin, J. A. (1997). Stress reduction through mindfulness meditation. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 66, 97–106.

Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 125–143.

Bishop, S. R. (2002). What do we really know about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction? Psychoso-matic Medicine, 64, 71–84.

DeBerry, S., Davis, S., & Reinhard, K. E. (1989). A comparison of meditation-relaxation and cognitive/behavioral techniques for reducing anxiety and depression in a geriatric population. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(2), 231–247.

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Marlatt, G. A., & Gordon, J. R. (1985). Relapse prevention: Maintenance strategies in the treatment of addictive behaviors. NewYork: Guilford Press.

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Related Research

Paykel, E., Scott, J., Teasdale, J., Johnson, A. L., Garland, A., Moore, R., et al. (1999). Prevention of relapse in residual depression by cognitive therapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, 56, 829–835.

Santorelli, S. (1999). Heal thy self: Lessons on mindfulness in medicine. NewYork: Bell Tower.

Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: Guildford Press.

Segerstrom, S. C., Tsao, J. C. I., Alden, L. E., & Craske, M. G. (2000). Worry and rumination: Repetitive thought as a concomitant and predictor of negative mood. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 24, 671–688.

Speca, M., Carlson, L. E., Goodey, E., & Angen, M. (2000). A randomized, wait-list controlled clinical trial: The effect of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2, 613–622.

Teasdale, J. T., Segal, Z. V., & Williams, J. M. G. (1995). How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness) training help? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 25–39.

Valentine, E. R., & Sweet, P. L. G. (1999). Meditation and attention: A comparison of the effects of concentrative and mindfulness meditation on sustained attention. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 2, 59–70.

Watkins, E., & Baracaia, S. (2002). Rumination and social problem-solving in depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40, 1179–1189.

Zuroff, D. C., Blatt, S. J., Sanislow, C. A., III, Bondi, C. M., & Pilkonis, P. A. (1999). Vulnerability to depression: Reexamining state dependence and relative stability. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 76–89.

3 thoughts on “Meditation to Reduce Depressive States”

  1. Meditation increases positive emotions and decreases negative ones. So meditation is a good exercise for healthy living. Thanks for this good article.

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