This is guest post by Ms. Jessica Tanner about using mindfulness meditation to reduce anxiety and depression.
How can Meditation Help?
If you have anxiety or depression, meditation can help you relax and regain control over your thoughts and situation. The thing about meditation is (if you do a Mindfulness exercise) that it allows you to be in the present moment and focus only on now. This allows you to take control over your thoughts, which often times control you, and keep you in this negative and depressed state, where you feel trapped and like there is no way up. Of course your first action when experiencing symptoms of depression, should be to contact people who can help you such as your doctor. They are there to help you get through this. Meditation can be used as a complementary treatment alongside any other treatment.
How to Meditate?
If you have decided to try meditation as a tool to fight your depression and anxiety, then here is a simple, yet powerful, meditation exercise in Mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about becoming aware of the things around and inside you in this present moment, without judging or analysing them. It can help you connect to your body, since feeling disconnected to ones body is a common problem for people suffering from depression. You may feel like you are all in your head and have no sense of what is going on in your body, such as how the depression and your mood is influencing your physical body and its reactions. Meditation is something you should do regularly as it helps you feel relaxed and calm over time, which strengthen your feeling of balance and harmony and lifts your spirit.
So, without further ado, lets start the meditation practice.
Find a quiet spot where you will not be interrupted for 15 to 30 minutes. Make sure you have no distracting electronics around such as your phone, television or radio. Find a comfortable meditation posture and then close your eyes and take a couple of long deep cleansing breathes just to calm your mind and body before you begin.
Now, breathe naturally without forcing yourself to breathe deeply. Simply notice how it feels when you inhale through your nose and all the way down into your stomach. Pay attention to sensations in your body. How does the air feel as it enters your nostrils? Is it cold? Now exhale the air and once again notice how it feels. Take your time and do not rush this exercise. Just be in this present moment. Keep breathing and focus on how the air feels as it enters your body.
Now, pay attention to your surroundings. What do you hear? Are there any sounds in the room? Take in all the impressions you can, which will keep you focused and centred. At some point thoughts are going to enter your mind. Thoughts about the future or thoughts about the pass, all filling you with worry and frustration. All you need to do is to acknowledge these thoughts and let them go. You do that be simply returning your focus to your breathing. Focus on your inhaling and exhaling.
Turn your focus inside now. Notice the different sensations in your body such as muscle tension, pain or anxiety. Try to relax and loosen that part of your body. Focus on your feelings and emotions. It is important that you do not engage in these feelings. Simply acknowledge their presence without trying to interpret them. Accept that they are there and then allow the negative emotions to leave your body. Try to imagine that you are removing them from your body as you exhale.
Do this for 15 to 20 minutes and then slowly stretch your body and open your eyes. Take a moment to notice how you feel now. Do you feel more relaxed and calm?
This is just one of many meditation exercises you can do to help your fight your depression with alternative methods.
For more help visit Jessica’s website: www.reachoutapp.org