It’s born from a traumatic event. It drains your energy. Kills your ambition. And destroys any sense of self-respect.
Sunny days are gloomy. Food has no taste. Minor tasks become major hurdles. Sleep becomes nearly impossible.
At first, everyone supported you, but now they shun you. You feel alone and isolated. You wrack your brain trying to find a way to end this torment.
But the only solution you can think of— is suicide. This unending hell is called depression.
Everyone becomes depressed from time to time, even the rich and famous.
However, depression becomes a serious problem when it stays with you for weeks or even months.
When this happens, it’s called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
According to the National Institute of Health website, 16.1 million people were diagnosed with depression in 2016.
Some of the symptoms that are affiliated with depression are:
- Constant Fatigue
- Temptation of suicide
The biological cause of MDD is still being researched. Scientists believe that nerve cell connections, nerve cell growth, and low performance of neurotransmitters, all have a major influence on depression.
Other theories focus on the size of the hippocampus. Studies have shown that the hippocampus is smaller in those who suffer from depression.
But you’re not reading this blog post for theories, you’re reading this for solutions. And that solution my friend–is meditation.
Scientists made this amazing discovery when they studied the brains of meditators.
If you read the post on treating stress and anxiety without pharmaceuticals, then you’ll know that I recommend meditation as one of the methods.
But meditation can also do the same for depression. The reason for this is because meditation can physically change the brain.
Need proof? Let’s take the results of this study for example: “Results differ somewhat, possibly owing to the use of different forms of meditation, but in general show increased signals in brain regions related to regulation and attention control, with increased release of dopamine. Several studies have compared brain morphology of experienced meditators with matched controls, and findings include increased cortical thickness along with age-related cortical thinking.”
You might be wondering what dopamine is and what it has to do with depression. You know that rush you feel when you’re about to have an orgasm? Well, that’s dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released that during types of behavior. When a person is going through depression less dopamine is produced.
This can directly affect a person’s motivation. Because in order to experience that rush we crave, you actually have to get up and pursue it.
When a person is going through depression less dopamine is produced. No dopamine means no which chemical reward. This is why a person suffering from depression can seem unmotivated and even lazy.
But since meditation can increase the amount of dopamine released, a person suffering from depression may find a renewed desire for fun and pleasure.
Now that we know that it can influence certain brain functions— let’s look at how we can use meditation to treat depression.
Treat depression while boosting brain power by increasing the amount of this spectacular substance.
As discussed earlier, one of the believed causes of depression is deficient neurons and neurotransmitters.
A tissue called gray matter, which is found in the brain and spinal cord, is the location of many neurons and neurotransmitters.
When depression sets in, it not only taints the neurons housed in the gray matter, but it also affects the part of the brain the gray matter is located in.
For more clarity let’s look at this study taken from the Stanford University website: “People diagnosed with major depression also had gray-matter loss in other structures including the hippocampus and amygdala two key areas involved in storing memories and processing emotion.”
One of the ways meditation can be used for treating depression is to increase gray matter.
Though this sounds impossible it’s very doable. Here’s what researchers wrote when they looked at the amount gray matter in meditators.
“Hypothesized increases in gray matter concentration within the left hippocampus were confirmed. Exploratory whole brain analyses identified gray matter concentration in the PCC, TPJ, and the cerebellum.
Increased grey matter means more efficient neurons and neurotransmitters. Not only will this maximize brain power— but it could possibly stave off depression.
Perform brain surgery on yourself without tools or a doctor.
The amygdala is tied to negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. When a person is going through depression the amygdala can become overly stimulated.
This can increase the terrible symptoms associated with depression.
However, meditation can resolve this problem by accurately targeting this part of the brain. Sort of like a brain surgeon.
But hey don’t take my word for it. Here’s what lab results have shown: “Consistent with this prediction, a flexible factorial random effects analysis showed that a 3-day intensive mindfulness meditation training program reduced right amygdala.”
Why you’ll quit meditating before making any progress if you don’t do this.
You’ve finally overcome your battle with depression. When before all you experienced unending restlessness—now you experience nights filled with restful sleep
Yesterday it was normal if you felt lonely. Today intimate days with lovers and heartwarming holidays with family are the new norm.
Where once you contemplated suicide to end your suffering; now you look forward to each day. This is what can happen if you practice meditation.
Of course even though meditation is simple it’s not easy. It requires both focus and dedication. It also requires that you persevere when confronted with challenges such as:
- Inability to quiet the mind.
- Difficulty being still.
- Finding the time to meditate.
The first two can be overcome by diligence. However, time management is where people stumble. Unfortunately, in our frantic world, it’s very hard to find time for yourself.
And to reap the full benefits, most experts recommend that you meditate thirty-minutes a day.
If you’re having trouble finding time to meditate, then break your sessions in parts. For instance, you can do ten minutes in the morning and then twenty minutes in the evening.
If that doesn’t work for you then do ten minutes a day. Eventually, as you become more proficient, be able to meditate outside of your home which could help with time restraints.
For example, I can’t a full thirty minutes at home I’ll meditate on my commute. It can be done.
But whatever you do take action. Meditating to free yourself from depression could save your life.