Depression is a common mental health condition that can show up in a variety of ways.
If you live with depression, you could have chronic symptoms, like a generally low mood you can’t shake. Or you might have major depressive episodes a few times a year. You might also notice symptoms changing or worsening over time.
How to Deal with Anxiety and Depression
Finding peace and calm in the chaos of life can be a real challenge, especially when you’re trying to balance work, social obligations, family, and personal life. That’s where guided meditation for anxiety and depression can help. In as little as 10 minutes a day, you can develop a meditation practice that fits your schedule and gives you the space to relax both your mind and body.
Sure, meditation alone won’t make your symptoms vanish, but it can make them more manageable.
The benefits of meditation extend far beyond relaxation. In fact, a regular practice of meditation could help reduce anxiety, depression, insomnia, general pain, and high blood pressure. And the best part? It’s safe, accessible, and fits easily into your day.
Help Change Your Response to Negative Thinking
Depression can involve a lot of dark thoughts. You might feel hopeless, worthless, or angry at life (or even yourself). This can make meditation seem somewhat counterintuitive, since it involves increasing awareness around thoughts and experiences.
But meditation teaches you to pay attention to thoughts and feelings without passing judgment or criticizing yourself.
Guided meditation for anxiety and depression doesn’t involve pushing away these thoughts or pretending you don’t have them. Instead, you notice and accept them, then let them go. In this way, meditation can help disrupt cycles of negative thinking.
Guided meditation for anxiety and depression can help you get to a place where you can:
- notice this thought
- accept it as one possibility
- acknowledge that it’s not the only possibility
How to Manage Depression More Effectively
Learning to stay present at the moment can equip you to notice warning signs of a depressive episode early on.
Meditation can make it easier to pay attention to your emotions as they come up. So, when you begin experiencing negative thought patterns or notice increased irritability, fatigue, or less interest in the things you usually like to do, you might choose to focus on self-care to keep things from getting worse.
Dealing with Unwanted Thoughts
If any unwanted or unpleasant thoughts and emotions come up as you breathe, acknowledge them briefly, then turn your attention back to your body scan.
Keep in mind that’s is nearly impossible to keep your attention from ever wandering, even if you’ve been meditating for years. The key is to not beat yourself up about it. Simply redirect your awareness with self-compassion. This will probably feel odd at first, but it gets easier with time.
Types of Meditation
Meditation is an umbrella term for the many ways to a relaxed state of being. There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components. All share the same goal of achieving inner peace.
Ways to meditate can include:
- Guided meditation. Sometimes called guided imagery or visualization, with this method of meditation you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. You try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, sounds and textures. You may be led through this process by a guide or teacher.
- Mantra meditation. In this type of meditation, you silently repeat a calming word, thought or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts.
- Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation is based on being mindful, or having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment. In mindfulness meditation, you broaden your conscious awareness. You focus on what you experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath. You can observe your thoughts and emotions, but let them pass without judgment.
- Qi gong. This practice generally combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance. Qi gong (CHEE-gung) is part of traditional Chinese medicine.
- Tai chi. This is a form of gentle Chinese martial arts. In tai chi (TIE-CHEE), you perform a self-paced series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner while practicing deep breathing.
- Transcendental Meditation®. Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural technique. In Transcendental Meditation, you silently repeat a personally assigned mantra, such as a word, sound or phrase, in a specific way. This form of meditation may allow your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to use concentration or effort.
- Yoga. You perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment.
What Are the Advantages of Using Guided Meditation vs. Meditating on Your Own?
The advantage of guided meditation for anxiety and depression is that the narrator or teacher walks you through how to meditate, what to expect from your mind and body, and how you can apply what you learned in the meditation to your life. If your mind tends to wander during meditation, the guidance of an experienced teacher can help you focus and bring you back to the present moment.
Nothing can “cure” depression. However, when you incorporate meditation practices into your daily life, you may find it easier to challenge unwanted thoughts you experience and keep yourself from getting locked into the negative thought spirals that often make depression worse.