On more than one occasion I have been advised not to try meditation as part of my recovery from deep depression. This came as a surprise at first as I had always thought that meditation aids relaxation and provides relief from stress and anxiety. So it does, but there are also times when meditation is not advised when suffering with depression and you should bear this in mind if you are thinking of it as relief from your low mood.
When and why should it be avoided?
The meditation process of focusing inwards can actually heighten feelings of despair and depression and it is not recommended that you meditate when you are extremely depressed especially not if you are having thoughts of self-harming.
For those with depression it helps if you find an experienced meditator with whom you can work closely face-to-face, by phone or on-line. This is because when depressed, a person tends to focus on what’s wrong and this can lead to feelings that the meditation isn’t working, even when it is. An experienced meditator can help you deal with the frustration and feelings of failure.
In addition when meditating you focus your thoughts inwards and it can trigger a person to over-think about and analyse what is wrong in their lives (rumination). Far from helping the recovery from depression-it can make it worse.
Meditation can certainly help people recover from depression and reduce stress and anxiety when practised at the right stage of recovery and under the right conditions. But if you are in any doubt as to whether meditation is right for you, seek expert advice.
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