Why ‘spiritual’ meditation may help people overcome depression
A new study suggests that meditation may be a good idea for people struggling with depression.
The research, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, suggests that for people suffering from depression, the benefits of meditation can be significant.
It found that those who took a meditative practice during the week of the study had an average of 3.7 fewer days in which they were depressed, compared with those who were not meditating.
For the researchers, that could mean that meditation can help people cope with depression while also providing a more focused focus on the positive things that life has to offer.
“It is possible to meditate, but there is a very big difference between meditation and a physical practice like yoga or pilates,” said Dr. Joanna Hough, lead author of the paper and an associate professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
Hough is a member of the Department of Psychological Sciences and the Neuroscience Research Center at UMass Dartmouth Medical School.
She said that meditative practices can be helpful for people experiencing depression, but that they must be carefully planned.
“We know that there are certain meditation patterns that can help,” Hough said.
“It may be that the meditative approach, while a bit challenging, is a good place to start.”
Dr. James Clements, the study’s lead author, said that the findings may not apply to all people who are struggling with the condition.
Meditation can also be a valuable tool for people who suffer from chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
For example, some studies suggest that the practice of mindfulness can be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression.
But, Hough and Clements said that this study was the first to find that meditation might help people with depression as well.
“If we want to treat people, it makes sense to have an approach that is very focused on what is going on in their life,” Hrough said.
“What is important is not just the benefit of meditation, but also how it can be used as a means to help with stress, as well as to help people who have a lot of chronic health issues.”
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