Did you know that 30 minutes of meditation and relaxation can significantly reduce anxiety and depression? According to a new look at existing studies, Johns Hopkins University suggests adding a meditative practice to your conventional approach may provide long-term benefits.

In particular, the study showed that the Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation can provide significant improvement to individuals dealing with a variety of conditions including anxiety and depression.

Many people perceive meditation as the act of sitting still and thinking about nothing, however that is not the case with the practice of mindfulness meditation. This practice, which can take 30 to 40 minutes, trains the mind to be focused on feelings and thoughts but not provide internal judgment. So often we get caught up in our own self narrative that allowing all of our thoughts to simply exist is difficult.

Practice does make perfect for this type of experience so give mindfulness meditation a try.

  1. Create an environment that feels sacred and uplifting. Try for a quiet place away from noise or activity.
  2. Start slowly. Begin with just five or ten minutes before working your way up to a half an hour.
  3. Maintain an upright, straight posture. If you are in a chair, make sure your back is straight and your feet are flat on the ground.
  4. Don’t close your eyes. Instead, relax your gaze to the space down and in front of your body. This will keep you focused.
  5. Don’t force your breathing. Many practices suggest a forced approach to controlling your breaths. Instead, breathe normally.
  6. Be mindful of the thoughts that creep into your meditation. Acknowledge them as important issues but let them go as you continue to meditate. Promise yourself that you will revisit them later.

While there is no specific scientific evidence that indicates meditation is a cure or treatment for anxiety or depression, the practice is not in any way harmful. It can simply help ground and center you for your daily routine.

Do you think that mindfulness meditation can help with your anxiety or depression symptoms?

Image by Bob K via Flickr


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