Yoga by the Sea

How Mindfulness Meditation Helps to Reduce Anxiety and Depression

There is no one cause and no blanket fix for anxiety and depression. However, according to studies reported by Harvard Health, scientific discoveries are paving the way for even better understanding and treatment. These studies show that certain practices including exercise, engaging activities, and mindfulness meditation will help most people.

What is mindfulness meditation?

Mindfulness is the process of being in the present for your thoughts, emotions, and what’s going on around you without engaging in them. Mindfulness meditation is taking the time to sit and practice doing that.

You might think that you’re “naturally” anxious or distractable but would you believe it if I told you that mindfulness is your natural state. But like anything else, what we repeatedly do, we become. So rather than thinking you “are” an anxious person, consider that you “became” an anxious person.  Now if you could only find your way back to your natural peaceful state — or somewhere in that neighborhood.

That’s where practicing mindfulness meditation comes in and here are 3 ways that it will help.

1. Mindfulness meditation helps to reduce worry and rumination

The mind worries because it’s trying to solve your problems for you. With compulsive, repetitive dialogues with ourselves, we imagine that we’re thinking things through. But not really. Actually, not at all.

One simple exercise you can do now to check me on this is to write down one or two instances where rumination brought about clarity or solutions. I doubt you can find any such instance.

What does help you solve your problems are journaling, talk therapy, support, getting advice, or taking action to do what you’re avoiding or afraid of. By meditating, you will begin to worry and ruminate less and less. Because of the effects that mindfulness has on the brain, yours will change when you begin to worry less. And a changed brain equals a changed individual.

Worry decreases when mindfulness increases.

This works because mindfulness helps you learn to stay with difficult feelings without analyzing or suppressing them. You will learn to let those thoughts just float by as you become aware that wait, worrying isn’t helping me solve my problems.

2. Mindfulness meditation helps to increase self-compassion