The Benefits of Meditation for Depression: How It Helps
9 Powerful Ways Meditation Dominates Depression
An incredibly complex disease, depression has an interwoven variety of biological, psychological, and sociological contributing factors.
From a variety of angles, we discuss 7 ways meditation is the very best way to once and for all, become depression free.
#1 — Depression Medications Boost Neurotransmitters. Meditation Does Too.
How Empty Neurotransmitters Mean Full Depression
Between your wonderfully complex brain’s billions of neurons are an internet-like group of information communicators known as "neurotransmitters."
When levels of these two highly important brain chemicals get too low, we feel an overwhelming sense of sadness, and consequently, become depressed.
If you are taking an antidepressant, it is almost certain to be targeting these two chemical messengers.
Then, we should just take a pill to make it all better, right?
The problem with taking anti-depressants are many: unknown side effects (paradoxically, suicide is one), dependency, and they flat out don’t work for many people.
In fact, clinical evidence has shown anti-depressants to be no more effective than a placebo! Thankfully, there is an ultra-powerful, time-tested, all-natural solution.
How Meditation Refills Your Neurotransmitters
As countless studies show (including a highly esteemed University of Montreal research team) — with meditation, you can boost both serotonin and norepinephrine to healthy "depression resistant" levels... naturally.
In effect, meditation creates within your brain a sort of "neurochemical utopia" — where depression is unable to survive.
Meditation’s freshly drafted serotonin army will quickly neutralize any depression linked enemy combatants currently occupying your brain, effectively making it a powerful fortress preventing any future potential invader.
Would you rather take a pill for temporary happiness or be truly and permanently happy with meditation?
#2 — Meditation Deactivates The Anxiety and Depression Center Of The Brain
Why Our Ancestors Needed Their Amygdala For Survival, But Not Us
"I think that tiger wants to eat me! Better grab my spear or get ‘outta here."
Considering what they dealt with every day, our primitive hunting and gathering ancestors certainly needed highly tuned survival instincts.
The brain region that kept them alive the most, the amygdala’s job was to alert them to any potential danger on the horizon — and it served them very well.
The problem is, while our ancient ancestors needed their "survival mode" activated on a daily basis, modern man does not.
How We Unnecessarily Trigger Our "Fight Or Flight" Response, Fueling Depression
Yet, we, as a society, are still somehow triggering our fight or flight stress response a few times per day with nothing more than common day to day financial difficulties, relationship worries, career problems, etc.
Each time we trigger our "life or death" fear center amygdala, a nasty chemical cocktail of hormones (like cortisol) get released, flooding our bodies with a bunch of nasties.
In time, VIP invites get sent out to an army of ugly mental, emotional, and physical disease. Guess who is at the front of the queue, just waiting to invade your brain and body?
Depression, with its’ baseball-bat-holding mafia family standing right behind him.
How Meditation Shrinks The Brain's "Fear Center"
What is the very best way to cool off an overheated amygdala, forever shielding depression?
Meditation. Esteemed Harvard neuroscientists examined the brains’ of freshly minted meditation practitioners before and after an 8 week mindfulness class. What did they find?
Incredibly, their "depression center" amygdalae had actually managed to shrink in size, while also being far less electrically active.
In other words, faster than the light switch in your living room, meditation effectively turns off the most critical brain region involved in depression.
For anyone drowning in a sea of depression, meditation is the world’s best life vest.
#3 — Meditation Solves The Psychology Of Depression
How The Depressed Mind Works
When we get stuck in a mental rut, negative thoughts keeps firing, like a howitzer, one after another. "I’m not good enough...I make too many mistakes...I am a bad person."
This kind of relentless thinking fuels bad moods, like kindling on a wildfire, spreading to all areas of the mind — keeping anyone locked in a seemingly perpetual state of depression, with no clear way out.
While we all have this type of thinking from time to time, the difference is the depressed mind’s sheer volume & level of bombardment.
Like a river current, it is easy for the mind to get taken downstream, against its’ will. It is easy to see why so many depressed people feel paralyzed.
Then what’s the solution? The very best mental thought elixir, luckily meditation fixes all of the above.
The Importance Of The Present Moment
Meditation will restore your present mind focus, allowing you to see the beautiful moment to moment unfolding of life, keeping everything from getting stale.
By opening your mind up to a whole new world of stimuli, meditation makes even the most mundane life feel fresh and alive — when this happens, depression simply falls away.
How Meditation Defuses Depressive Thoughts
Meditation teaches us how to be aware of our negative thoughts, which all by itself makes them less powerful and less frequent.
When we become witness to the thinking process — instead of our negative thoughts carrying us away like a rip current, the meditative mind simply watches negative thoughts and lets them go.
Watching ourselves think helps us realize that thoughts are not reality, they do not have to exert any influence on our mood or emotional state. Thoughts come and go, like waves upon the shore. No need to fixate or attach to any one of them.
Instead of a negative thought spiraling further and further out of control, digging a deeper and darker hole — meditation prevents the nasty trigger of depression from ever getting pulled.
It is the passive observation and awareness of the mind during meditation that weaken both the frequency and strength that our disharmonious thoughts have on us.
How Meditation Makes You A Master "Depression Fixing" Mind Mechanic
Our emotional peaks and troughs do not come from the roller coaster of events that happen in our lives — our ups and downs come from our interpretation of what we experience.
We all have a choice in how we react to every event in our lives, no matter how big or small — this goes beyond simply seeing the glass as half full.
Meditation allows you to understand, at the deepest of levels, how your thoughts, mind, and emotions intertwine, and just how much control we have over the thinking process.
What is the result? A bulletproof brain, impervious to depression.
#4 — Depression Comes From A Feeling Of Being Incomplete. Meditation Makes Us Whole Again
How "Scarcity Thinking" Can Make Us Depressed
Modern society has the habit of mindlessly pursuing material and superficial things under the false pretense of "not having enough".
When we believe that we "lack" something, it means that we are in some way "incomplete".
In our pursuit to regain "wholeness", we exhaust our mental and emotional energy reserves. What happens next? We disconnect, give up, feel jaded, develop bad habits, sleep too much (or too little), and become disinterested in life — depression at its’ dirtiest.
How Meditation Restores Healthy Thought
By helping you see the obvious flaw in the mindlessness of "scarcity" thinking, meditation will redirect your focus to where it matters most, swinging your life right back into balance, allowing you to feel whole again.
Deepak Chopra M.D., a world renowned doctor, bestselling author, and huge proponent of meditation, recently wrote:
"The most effective strategy for diminishing chronic stress is balance. Being able to stay centered, relaxed and present is the optimal state of balance for both mind and body. You need to train your brain to stay there."
How Meditation Restores Emotional Balance
If every cell in your body seeks balance, then what is the ultimate source of balance? Meditation.
Your mood will be naturally positive, your muscles will be free of tension. Your mind will be focused, yet relaxed.
Freedom from depression is a natural byproduct of this higher level mindset.
#5 — Depression Weakens The Brain. Meditation Builds It Back Up
How Depression Shrinks The Hippocampus
Beyond simply making us feel down in the dumps, many are surprised to learn depression can actually downgrade the size & strength of certain brain areas.
A 1996 University of Washington (St. Louis) research study measured the brains of 10 major clinical depression sufferers, revealing that the depressed participants’ "hippocampus" — a brain region best known for memory loss and disorientation, was remarkably underdeveloped when compared to normal brains.
Moreover, the effect was amplified by time — the more days the participants were "officially" diagnosed as clinically depressed, the greater the magnitude of frailty.
Luckily there is a very powerful solution.
How Meditation Strengthens & Fortifies The Hippocampus
What’s the best way to rehabilitate the hippocampus, while reversing any other nasty, deteriorating "depressed brain" effects?
Meditation. Numerous studies show, time and time again, meditation practitioners to have highly developed, well-formed Hippocampi — with one 2007 study (University of Geissen, Germany) finding a one to one relationship with number of years meditation experience and the overall "hippocampal grey matter density."
Moreover, you don’t need to practice meditation for years to see results, these studies show dramatic results in only a few short weeks (or even days!).
Meditation has been building calm, focused, happy brains for centuries — now proven by science.
#6 — Meditation Stimulates The Same Brainwaves That Doctors Use To Treat Depression
How Depression Mirrors Our Brainwave Patterns
Day and night, every area of your brain fires directly measurable electrical signals which, when combined, form what are called "brainwave patterns".
How Alpha & Theta Brainwaves "Knock-Out" Depression
In 1991, a study was undertaken at the Biofeedback Institute (Saxby & all) where 14 depressed alcoholics were given experimental alpha and theta brainwave therapy over 20 sessions.
Each participant took a "Beck Depression Inventory Score" pre and post experiment, to gauge degree of depression. What were the results?
Amazingly, their depression was reduced by a whopping 80% (21-pre, 4-post). In addition, at the 21 month follow up, results were still very much in tact — relapse was very low.
How Meditation Creates Alpha & Theta Brainwaves
One of the countless reasons neuroscientists love studying their magnificent brains, meditation heavily increases both theta and alpha brainwaves. (Note: EquiSync makes these brainwaves much easier to obtain!)
Indeed, the neuroscientific community has built a mountain of evidence confirming that meditation can quickly, safely, and easily turn depression on its head.
#7 — An Upgraded Brain "CEO" Will Unemploy Your Depression
How A Weak "Prefrontal Cortex" Can Result In Depression
As we evolved from our prehistoric Neanderthal days to our present human form, one particular brain region has risen to prominence.
Known as the brain’s overall thought orchestrator, "CEO", and emotional control / command center — the "prefrontal cortex" has been pinpointed by researchers as perhaps the clearest dividing line between ancient & modern man.
And this brain region is super-important for depression sufferers.
A study published in one of the world’s leading medical journals, "The Lancet" (Pascual-Leone & all) tested the brains of 17 clinically depressed patients. What did they find?
Kind of like that skinny-legged guy at the gym who only trains his upper body, the depressed subjects’ "emotional regulating" left prefrontal cortexes were remarkably underdeveloped when compared to other brain regions.
Can you guess which brain region of meditators are incredibly well-built? You got it, the left prefrontal cortex.
How Meditation Builds Up The Prefrontal Cortex
A landmark study by Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Sara Lazar showed that the brains of meditators had remarkably more "prefrontal cortex gray matter thickness" — with degree being directly linked to level of meditation experience.
In other words, the more you practice meditation, the stronger & better your prefrontal cortex, the greater your emotional well-being and balance.
If you want to rewire your brain for happiness, effectively freeing yourself from the chains of depression, then meditation is priority one.
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