Meditation for Your Mental Health
Feb 02, 2022
It’s something we’ve all heard: meditation is great for your mental health. We hear of these great results from people who meditate regularly, but do we know how? Or why? It may sound like toxic positivity or dismissive of real mental health conditions and their symptoms to recommend meditation and mindfulness as a form of treatment. But, it turns out that science supports the idea that meditation can assist in the treatment of certain mental health disorders.
While meditation isn’t a cure all or an alternative to other forms of treatment like therapy or medication, incorporating meditation into your daily routine does have real benefits to mental health that are backed by scientific studies. If you have Depression, Anxiety, or ADHD, there is substantial proof that meditation can be a great supplement to your treatment plan.
During meditation, we bring focus to our thoughts. For many people with depression, it can feel like the goal is to eliminate the negative thoughts, but during meditation our job is only to acknowledge them, allow them to exist, and let them go. This can be incredibly helpful for people with depression who can spend time feeling anger or shame for their depressive thoughts, meditation can provide an opportunity to make peace with them.
A study published in 2019 supports the idea that meditation can improve the symptoms of depression. After a six week meditation training, participants who kept practicing meditation scored lower on a depression and anxiety scale.
According to Healthline and a 2016 research study, regular meditation can actually decrease the likelihood of a depression relapse, meaning that as your depression symptoms improve, you’re more likely to stay in that state than revert back to more severe symptoms.
The effects of mindfulness and meditation for those with ADHD is less widely studied, but there have been some promising results with the research we have so far.
A preliminary study from 2013 found meditation to be a feasible form of treatment for ADHD, with most participants recording a reduction in their ADHD symptoms while practicing.
Similar to depression, the benefits of meditation for people with anxiety have been heavily studied. And many of the studies listed above that found noticeable decreases in symptoms of depression with meditation, found the same to be true for symptoms of anxiety.A study from 2003 found that not only did people who practice meditation regularly have lower symptoms in their anxiety, they also had better coping skills. These people had fewer instances of using reactionary or impulsive coping mechanisms. This study also found meditation could even be helpful in the prevention of heart disease!