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Does Meditation Help With Depression? Here’s What The Research Says

Posted on November 16 2022

Key Points:

  • Depression is a severe mental health condition, but it is treatable. It is linked to chemical imbalances in the brain and can be caused by many different things.
  • Meditation is one treatment for depression that has been shown to be at least moderately effective in research studies. Meditation changes how you think and feel about your mental health condition.
  • Meditation for anxiety, meditation for stress, and meditation for bipolar can also work effectively to lessen the impact and symptoms of these conditions.

Mental health issues are finally being discussed more openly, with many people understanding that they suffer from debilitating conditions like depression. Where there was once a stigma attached to mental health, society is now slowly realizing that these conditions should be treated with the same urgency as physical health issues.

Living with depression can be challenging. Every day can feel like a battle, with negative thoughts and feelings dragging you down. It can be hard to see a way out, but some things can help. Many will seek treatment with medication. However, there is another option that is often overlooked – meditation.

Meditation has been shown to have some effects when treating depression for some people. It can be used in conjunction with medication or as a standalone treatment. It is not a quick fix, but it can help to change the way you think and feel about your depression.

This article will look at depression and how it is commonly treated. Then, we'll look at whether meditation is an effective solution backed by scientific research. Then, we'll look at how to meditate for depression. Let's get started!

What Is Depression?

Depression is more than just feeling sad. It is an actual medical condition that can impact every area of your life. Depression can cause physical symptoms such as fatigue and pain, as well as mental symptoms such as low mood, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It can run in families but can also be triggered by stress, relationship problems, or trauma.

Depression is a treatable condition. However, only around 50% of people with depression will seek treatment from a mental health professional. Often, people do not realize they are depressed or may feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit they need help.

Some of the common signs of depression include:

Feeling sad, low, or empty most of the time: This isn't just a case of the blues – it's feeling down all the time, even when good things are happening. These feelings can last for weeks or months, and they may come and go. Sometimes they may be triggered by a specific event, such as the death of a loved one, but often there is no apparent reason.

Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy: This can be anything from not wanting to see friends or go to work to losing interest in sex. When you're depressed, it can be hard to muster up the energy to do things you once enjoyed.

Changes in appetite: Depression can lead to weight loss or weight gain. Some people lose their appetite and eat less, while others find comfort in food and overeat.

Sleep problems: Depression can cause insomnia or make you want to sleep all the time. It can be hard to get out of bed in the morning, or you may find yourself taking naps during the day.

Fatigue: Depression can make you tired, even after a whole night's sleep. This fatigue can be physical and mental, making it hard to concentrate or motivation to do anything.

Anxiety: Many people with depression also suffer from anxiety. This can manifest as generalized anxiety, social anxiety, or specific phobias. You may find yourself worrying all the time or avoiding situations that make you feel anxious.

Difficulty concentrating: Depression can make it hard to focus on anything. You may read the same paragraph repeatedly without comprehending it or staring into space for long periods.

Irritability: Depression can make you more easily irritated by things that wouldn't usually bother you. You may snap at loved ones or get into arguments more often.

Physical symptoms: Depression can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and back pain. These symptoms are often caused by the stress of depression, making it hard to concentrate or motivate yourself to do anything.

Thoughts of death or suicide: If you're depressed, you may have dark thoughts about death or suicide. These thoughts can be alarming, but it's important to remember that they are common in depression and do not necessarily mean that you will act on them. If you have suicidal thoughts, it's important to get help from a mental health professional immediately.

How Is Depression Treated?

Depression is commonly treated with medication, such as antidepressants. These can be effective for some people but do not work for everyone. They can also have side effects, such as weight gain and sexual problems. For these reasons, many people are interested in finding alternative treatments for depression.

Meditation is one such treatment. It is effective in treating depression, anxiety, and stress. Meditation changes how you think and feel about your mental health condition. It can help you to see your thoughts and feelings in a different light and to understand them better. This can lead to a reduction in symptoms.

Does Meditation Help With Depression: The Research

Research has been growing in recent years on the efficacy of meditation for depression. A 2014 review of the research published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal found that meditation can moderately treat depression and anxiety. The review covered 18,753 citations and covered 47 trials with 3515 participants, giving us some clear insight into the question of does meditation help with depression.

A more recent review of the research, published in the Frontiers in Psychiatry journal in 2019, also looked at the effect of meditation on depression and anxiety. The review again found that meditation can be a moderately effective treatment for depression and that it can help to reduce symptoms. However, the authors of this review warned that the results they were dealing with were often of poor quality and interpretations should be treated with caution.

Outside of reviews, several studies have examined the question, "does meditation help with depression." A 2016 study published in Psychology Research and Behavior Management showed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy could help reduce your chances of depression relapse. Meanwhile, a study from the same year published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that those seeking to improve the symptoms of depression through meditation needed to make it an ongoing part of their lives rather than using it as a temporary fix. Finally, a 2017 study published in The Journal of Nursing Education concluded that meditation could have more benefits than exercise for relieving the symptoms of depression.

So, what does this all mean? The evidence suggests that meditation can be at least moderately helpful in treating depression, but it is not a cure-all. The best way to use meditation for depression is to make it a regular part of your life and combine it with other healthy coping strategies or medication. So if you're still asking, "does meditation help with depression?" Then the answer is yes, but with caution.

Types of Meditation for Depression

Having now looked at "does meditation help with depression?" You're probably wondering how to now go about it. Many different types of meditation are suitable. This is the place to start if you're looking at how to meditate for depression.

Mindfulness meditation: This meditation involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment. You do not judge or try to change your thoughts; you observe them. This can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and understand them better.

Concentrative meditation: This meditation focuses on a single object, such as your breath or a mantra (a repeated word or phrase). This can help you to focus your mind and to clear your thoughts.

Visualization: This type of meditation involves picturing a peaceful or calming scene in your mind. This can help you to relax and to reduce stress and anxiety.

Transcendental meditation: This type of meditation involves repeating a mantra. It is a simple and effective way to focus your mind and reduce stress.

Guided meditation: This type of meditation involves following along with a guided meditation recording. This can be a great way to learn how to meditate and find what meditation technique works for you.

Yoga: Yoga is an ancient practice that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Yoga can help to reduce stress, improve mental well-being, and promote relaxation.

How To Meditate for Depression: The Basics

There are many ways to start if you're looking at how to meditate for depression. Still, the basic premise is always the same: to focus your attention on something and let thoughts and feelings come and go without judgment.

One way to meditate for depression is to focus on your breath. Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed, and focus on the sensation of your breath going in and out. If your mind wanders, that's okay – gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Another way to meditate is to focus on a mantra or a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself. This can be anything from "I am peaceful" to "I am loveable." Repeat your mantra to yourself, and let any other thoughts come and go without judgment.

There are many other ways to meditate, so experiment to find your answer on how to meditate for depression. There are also many different meditation apps and websites that can help you to get started.

For example, the Mesmerize app is a unique audio-visual meditation experience that can help you relax, de-stress, and improve your overall quality of life. The app engages your senses by combing visuals with music and guided meditations to give you a well-rounded meditation experience.

What Are Some Other Issues Associated With Depression?

Depression can also be associated with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and stress. It might be part of another condition, such as bipolar disorder.

It's important to remember that everyone experiences mental health conditions differently. If you think you might be depressed, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They will be able to diagnose your condition and recommend treatment.

Meditation for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. These can range from extremely happy and energetic (known as mania) to very low and depressed (known as depression).

Bipolar disorder can be challenging to treat, but meditation for bipolar can be an effective way to manage symptoms. Meditation for bipolar can help to control the swings in mood.

To start your meditation for bipolar, find a quiet, comfortable place where you won't be interrupted and utilize one of the techniques listed above. It can be helpful to practice for 10-15 minutes daily. However, patience is vital – it can take time to see the benefits of meditation for bipolar disorder.

Meditation for Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but some people experience it more severely than others. Anxiety can be caused by many different things, such as stress, worry, and fear. It can also be a symptom of other mental health conditions, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Anxiety can be debilitating and make it difficult to go about your everyday life. However, many treatments are available, including medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Meditation for anxiety is an effective treatment and can be done anywhere at any time by following one of the methods above. If you suffer an anxiety attack in public or a social situation, try to find a quiet place to sit or lie down so you can peacefully engage in your meditation for anxiety. If you can't find a quiet place, focus on breathing and block out any external noise. 

You may find it helpful to practice meditation for anxiety more frequently and then taper off as your anxiety improves. Over time, you will find that your anxiety decreases, and you feel more able to cope with stressful situations.

Meditation for Stress

Stress is a natural human response to challenging situations. It is the body's way of preparing to deal with a threat and can be helpful in some cases. However, too much stress can harm our mental and physical health.

Symptoms of stress include feeling anxious, irritable, or overwhelmed. You may also have trouble sleeping and may find that you are more easily startled or prone to angry outbursts. If you are feeling stressed, taking steps to reduce your stress levels is crucial.

One of the best ways to reduce stress is through using meditation for stress. Meditation for stress allows you to focus on the present moment and can help to clear your mind of negative thoughts and worries. It can also help to improve your mood and reduce stress hormones.

Once again, follow one of the methods we've been talking about as your meditation for stress. Relax your body, focus on your breath and let your thoughts and feelings pass over you. Keep practicing your meditation for stress each day, and you will find that your stress levels start to decrease.

Meditation can be an effective way to manage many different mental health conditions. It is a safe and natural treatment and can be done anywhere at any time. Try meditation if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress. You may be surprised at how much it can help.

How Pzizz Can Aid Meditation

Pzizz is an app designed to help you relax and fall asleep. However, Pzizz can also be an effective aid to meditation for depression. 

Using a combination of music, voiceovers, and sound effects (all designed with recent clinical research in mind), our "dreamscapes" create an atmosphere conducive to relaxation. This makes them a potential excellent background to your meditation.

Meditation and Depression: Conclusion

Depression is a severe mental health condition that can negatively affect every aspect of your life. It can make it tough to work, be around others, and take care of yourself. However, meditation may be able to help. However, meditation is not a complete solution. Getting professional help is essential, particularly if your thoughts turn toward self-harm.


What are some of the benefits of meditation?

Meditation can help to improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote overall well-being.

Is meditation safe?

Meditation is a safe and natural treatment for mental health conditions. However, it's always best to speak to a doctor if you have any concerns.

What apps can I use to aid my meditation?

Many apps can help you relax and focus during meditation. Some of the most popular include Headspace, Mesmerize, and Pzizz.