Meditation helps to relieve stress and beat depression
More often than not, when someone hears the word meditation an image is conjured in their mind. They see people sitting on the floor cross-legged, resting their wrists on their knees, humming a dull, monotonous sound.
This is a stereotypical view of what meditation is – a bizarre practice carried out by religious groups, with no one really knowing the point of it. In reality, meditation is a relaxation method. There is no strange humming sound that goes along with it, nor do you have to sit on the floor with your legs crossed. In recent years a lot of research has gone into the practice, and it has become increasingly common for so-called ‘normal’ people to use meditation in their everyday lives.
From speaking to people who have in the past couple of years started to meditate, it’s amazing to hear how something that is as simple as closing your eyes and relaxing, can change your life. Mediation can prevent the mind from being hijacked by emotional issues like regrets about the past or worries about the future, and therefore it can stabilise moods and manage depression. It can also reduce stress levels and anxiety. Recent research has shown that meditation can also improve someone’s sensitivity to pain, even more so than results seen in clinical trials that have tested morphine as a pain reducer.
The benefits of meditation are so rich that it has even been introduced in schools. Some schools in Essex, UK are trialling weekly lessons of mediation, and the teachers say it has had a calming effect on pupils, improved their concentration and boosted academic performance. Last year a school in Kent, UK added meditation skills to their curriculum, something which was aimed at male pupils aged 14-15. It was designed to help students escape an unhealthy mindset that could lead to mental health problems like depression or addiction in their later life.
It is true – meditation is an ancient tradition that is still practiced by religious groups. However, it is becoming increasingly common in the modern world, as well as a respected and effective tool in managing stress and depression. There is a specific method to meditation, but it is very quick to learn and well worth it. After all, it can be life changing.