The latest research has found that mindful meditation might be as effective in treating depression as antidepressant medication.
Previous studies on the benefits of meditation found that the practice could help to reduce pain and inflammation just as effectively as taking pain relief pills. Now, the latest research has found that meditation can also help manage the symptoms of depression.
Researchers found that those who meditated for just 30 to 40 minutes every day for eight weeks, had a five to ten percent reduction in anxiety symptoms and a 10 to 20 percent reduction in feelings of depression. Allan Goroll, a professor of medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital stated that these “findings may support the use of mindful meditation as a way to moderate the need for medications to treat anxiety and depression.”
According to the study, the reduced feelings of anxiety and depression were similar to the effects of taking antidepressants in similar population groups.
The researchers also found that insomnia and stress were also heavily reduced in those who practiced meditation.
Madhav Goyal, leader of the study and assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, is still unclear as to how meditation helps but believes that “those who learn meditation reduce their reaction to negative emotions or symptoms” thereby reducing the effects these negative emotions may have.
Goyal continued, “our review suggests that there is moderate evidence for a small but consistent benefit for anxiety, depression and chronic pain. There is no known major harm from meditating, and meditation doesn’t come with any known side effects. One can also practice meditation along with other treatments one is already receiving.”
While Goyal does not suggest that meditation is used as the only form of treatment he does affirm that the best reason to meditate “is to increase insight into one’s life which is probably good for everyone.”
Zen Meditation is a psycho- spiritual therapeutic practice, not a religious practice.
It is a practice of mindfulness.
Like all Chinese/Oriental Arts, it is a “practice” requiring “practice.”
How to do it?
*Find a place where you feel safe and secure.
*Find a suitable time to practice everyday.
*Wear loose clothing.
*set a timer.
*burn some incense if you like.
*Sit in a comfortable position.
*Keep your back straight but not stiff.
*Put your left hand on your right palm if you are a man.
*Put your right hand on your left palm if you are a woman.
*Let your eyes rest on the floor about a meter in front of you.
*Let your eyelids almost close, but let a little light in.
*Relax your whole body including your face.
*Let the tip of your tongue rest behind your top teeth.
*Rock gently from right to left allowing your body to come to a gentle stop
*Take 3 slow deep breaths in & out through your nose.
*Now let your breath find its own rhythm – it will become quite slow.
*Let your attention rest on your breath – feel it coming in and feel it going out.
*When you realize your attention has drifted away from your breath, gently return it your breath.