Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation where you withdraw your engagement with the incessant chatter of the mind, and draw your awareness toward your sensory experience of the present moment, while suspending judgement and mental commentary. It is a form of meditation that over the last three decades has become increasingly researched and incorporated into treatments for various mental health disorders, including meditation for depression and anxiety.
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has conducted a large research project on meditation, which was published early January 2014 [Ref. 1]. The research analysed 47 randomized controlled trials – the gold standard of medical research – with a total of more than 3,500 participants, to try and determine the effects of meditation on patients with clinically diagnosed depression, anxiety, chronic pain, sleep problems etc.
Meditation for depression and anxiety
The research found that practising mindfulness meditation for depression and anxiety even half an hour a day can improve depression with 10-20%, and anxiety with 5-10%. What is interesting about this, in particular considering the stringent research model, is that these effects are very similar to what can be achieved with anti-depressant medications. Except, of course, that meditation has none of the negative side-effects that medications have. Quite the contrary, I would say, as mindfulness meditation has been used for thousands of years to enhance psychological and spiritual wellbeing.
Meditation for chronic pain and sleep problems
The study also verified that mindfulness meditation is an effective treatment approach to chronic pain. You can read more about that in this article: Meeting pain with mindfulness. However, the research did not find that mindfulness meditation was an effective treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia. I’m not surprised over that finding, because my own case studies showed me that sleep problems require an integrated approach, where mindfulness meditation is one of several components, to be effective. This is why I developed Relax-the-Mind sleep therapy, which is a highly effective approach that has helped lots of people resolve long-standing sleep problems, like insomnia.
While many people still today believe that ‘meditation’ means sitting down doing nothing, this is somewhat of a misapprehension. It could mean that, but learning to do nothing requires training, since the mind’s tendency is to wildly jump from one thought to the next, often leading to impulses to move the body for some purpose or another. So, the meditation practice can be seen as a training program for learning how to do absolutely nothing! To just be, be aware. To be aware of moment after moment; the string of moment-pearls that all taken together is… your life. To live each moment, in the richness of all that is in it.
To learn more about mindfulness meditation, continue to this page: Integrating Awareness Meditation.
If you want to learn more about other ways that meditation can be of benefit to you, don’t delay, contact me today!
Read other articles about depression treatment and about meditation on my Blog page!
- Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga ES, et al. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;():. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018.