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Guided Meditation for Depression

With so much that could go wrong in life, it’s easy to fall into a depression. Thinking negative things after a difficult event, such as a death of a loved one, breakup, or diagnosis of a terminal illness can easily lead us into a depression. Even something such as workplace bullying can spiral depression out of you. This goes beyond sadness, into months of emotional pain you can’t untangle yourself out of.

Fortunately, guided meditation for depression paired with therapy or medication can help you overcome depression.

What Is Meditation for Depression?

Depression is considered by doctors to be a thought disorder. Meditation helps you see for yourself how thinking works. Many people who have never tried meditation think that a guided meditation for depression is all about being alone with your thoughts. And it’s not really like that at all. Besides, you probably already do that on your own anyway (along with the other billions of people on this planet).

Meditation is all about becoming present. When we struggle with depression, we’re often reliving the past. We want to go back in time to be with our loved one or ex or to a simpler time of happiness or freedom. Nothing in life is permanent. And we can view that as a bad thing or we can view it as it is: nature. It’s important to remember that just as we’ll lose things we love, we’ll also gain things we love. You’ll have opportunities to experience new things, and sometimes those new things seem scary before the experience comes.

Those struggling with depression will find that guided meditation for depression allows them to notice their thinking instead of getting sucked into the negative thinking rabbit hole. When you become aware of your thinking, you become in control of it. You can replace negative thoughts with happy thoughts. And you can prevent ruminating thoughts from leading you astray.

Meditation is all about realizing you are not your thoughts. So you don’t need to believe every thought that enters your mind. And you certainly shouldn’t identify with every thought either. Instead, it’s about watching intrusive thoughts float in and out of your mind and realizing you aren’t in control of them. However, you do have control over thinking positive thoughts or replacing thoughts. You’re also in control of your response to your thoughts.

A guided meditation for depression will also help you with shifting away from the past into the present. You might focus on breath instead of your thoughts, which will allow you to have a safe and peaceful state of mind. In the present moment, there is no thinking, there’s only living. So, if you’d love to experience less thinking and more living, a guided meditation for depression can give you the practice you need for this eventually to become your automatic way of life.

Guided Meditations for Depression

The guided meditation for depression below can be used in combination with therapy and medication. They are not a replacement from medical help but simply an addition to help you along your journey. You might practice a guided meditation for depression in between therapy or psychiatric appointments to help you during difficult moments.

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Meditation for depression

This 10 minute guided meditation for depression will help you manage feelings that come with depression.
Find more practices like this one in our free guided meditation app Declutter The Mind.

How Meditation Increases Depression

Studies show that meditation is just as effective as medication at treating depression. Fortunately, doctors haven’t found any negative side effects of pairing meditation with medication to help you recover from depression and drastically minimize your symptoms.

Studies also show that people who experienced depression, specifically in older age, had worse episodic memory, meaning how they recall memories and events. So, it’s possible that how those events actually happened is perceived differently than how they think it happened. And meditation can help you cope with those feelings and allows you to better focus so you can recall events as they happened.

Meditation acts like a training practice for getting your focus back to the present moment. It helps you shift away from those negative thoughts running through your mind and onto what’s actually happening in this moment right now. The interesting thing to note is that depression happens when the medial prefrontal cortex becomes hyperactive and that’s the exact area that meditation changes. But it’s not the only area.

The amygdala which triggers our fight or flight response, also has a negative role in depression and anxiety. And meditation plays a role in impacting that area too. Meditation helps separate the connection between the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala so you aren’t worsening your depressive state.

Now, let’s get back to that study of memory. The hippocampus, which plays a role in our memory, is strengthened through meditation. So instead of seeing events incorrectly we can see them clearly. That’s because our focus and presentness is stronger with meditation. Those who meditate for at least thirty minutes a day will actually have more gray matter in their hippocampus, whereas those suffering from depression tend to have a smaller hippocampus.

How to Meditate for Depression

1. Find a quiet spot

Before you start your guided meditation for depression, find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Avoid lying down, unless you’re practicing the meditation before you go to sleep as it can sometimes make people feel relaxed and drowsy. You can sit on a meditation cushion, couch, or office chair. Aim to sit upright but find a meditation posture that works for you. If you’re sitting on the ground, cross your legs. During your practice if you notice itches, feel free to scratch them. Also, if you begin to cry, allow the emotions to come out. Crying can be a therapeutic experience for all of us. So, have a box of tissues nearby if you’ve been going through a difficult time lately.

2. Open Declutter The Mind on your phone

Download the Declutter The Mind app on your phone. You’ll find various meditations for depression, sadness, and many other emotions. Pick a meditation based on how much time you have to practice, such as ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes. Although, you can also find meditations for as long as sixty minutes if you’d like to meditate the whole hour. Practice breathing in and out and focusing on your breathing. You’ll have prompts come up now and then to remind you to shift your focus back on the present so your mind doesn’t wander or ruminate. Practice meditation on a daily basis for weeks on end. Studies show that even eight weeks of daily meditation have a transformative effect on changing the brain for the better.

3. Next steps

After practicing your meditation for depression, aim to do something kind for yourself and something kind for someone else. When you help other people, you live presently because your focus is on action rather than thinking. Aim to do things mindfully for the next little while. Do activities that shift your focus on what you are doing, instead of getting lost in the thoughts in your head. These small shifts in behavior will help you minimize your symptoms of depression.

Other Ways to Reduce Depression

1. Shower

Those struggling with depression often struggle with everyday tasks. However, if you’re looking for a quick-win after dragging yourself out of bed, consider taking a shower. When you don’t shower for several days, you might have a build up of bad bacteria and generally feel worse. After a quick shower, even if it’s only five minutes long, you’ll feel more refreshed. Warm showers have been proven to reduce symptoms of depression, so this kind of water therapy can have a positive impact on your day. You’re also more likely to feel a renewed energy too. You can even play a meditation during your shower to help you relax while you shower.

2. Exercise

For people who struggle out of bed, an elaborate exercise routine can feel like it’s not an option. So consider going for a mindful walk instead. It doesn’t require a lot of energy and you can do it at your own pace. Sometimes just going outside on a sunny day can help you feel good. You’ll benefit from some feel good endorphins plus that dose of Vitamin D from a little bit of sunshine. If that feels like too much for you, consider just going outside in the backyard and gardening or maintaining your plants. Taking care of plants has been scientifically proven to help improve your mood while reducing symptoms of stress. Plus, you’ll still be moving around a bit but with less intensity.

3. Replace negative thoughts

In addition to a guided meditation for depression, you can also benefit from some cognitive behavioral therapy. Those who try CBT therapy will practice replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones. Depression is often considered a “thought disorder” because the thinking often involves rumination, jumping to conclusions, worst-case scenarios, self-blame, and more. So, when a negative thought pop-ups up in your head, you can label what that thought does, and then replace it with a more positive and balanced thought instead. So, if your thought is “Everybody hates me” you might say to yourself “My inner critic is catastrophizing again. Not all of the eight billion people on this planet hate me. I have many supportive friends and family members who love me very much. I’m exaggerating because I feel bad about my situation right now but this suffering is temporary.”

4. Seek therapy

Finding a therapist can help you get the treatment you need for managing your depression. For those struggling to leave the house, a lot of therapists offer virtual support. Spending an hour every three to four weeks can help you get your frustrations off your chest, allow you to learn coping skills, and gain support so you can heal. A therapist is a professional but isn’t able to provide medical advice as they aren’t doctors. So, depending on how long you’ve been struggling with depression, you might also need to find a psychiatrist.

5. Take antidepressants

Depression isn’t the same for everybody. Some people struggle with brain imbalances and require medication, such as antidepressants or antipsychotics depending on whether they’re depressed or bipolar. Taking medication for treatment isn’t a big deal. There are many medical illnesses that require the use of medication. If something makes you feel better while treating the illness, why wouldn’t you take it? Pairing antidepressants prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist with therapy and a guided meditation for depression will help you get the well-rounded support you need to overcome your depression.

6. Help others

It’s hard to view the world negatively when we’re constantly trying our best to put so much good out there. Often, when we’re struggling with our own mental health, our focus is on ourselves to make ourselves better. However, when you shift your attention from yourself and onto others, that’s when you heal. It’s scientifically proven that doing daily good deeds and acts of kindness helps you feel better about yourself. Plus, being compassionate uses the right-side of your brain, which helps silence thoughts. Therefore, helping you manage your depression.

7. Do right-brain activities

As we just hinted, the left brain controls language and thinking, whereas the right brain is where creativity is stored. When you find your thoughts going rogue, it’s time to make your right brain more active. You can do this through a guided meditation for depression, acts of kindness, drawing, sculpting, crafts, theater classes, volunteering, and more. Activating your inner creative mind will help you live more presently where thoughts are much more minimized. Keep in mind that writing and journaling involve language which means they use the left brain, so stick to non-writing tasks, if possible.

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