Are you looking for the best type of Meditation for depression…? There are so many types of meditation out there, how would you know what suits your current situation…? But the good news is… Meditation works! And Meditation cured my depression… I now have a daily dose of practice in the evening just before I head to bed.
So Who Am I & What Is My Story?
Hi there, my name is Jessica Hegarty and I am an Energy practitioner. I am an Engineer by training and currently work at a Pharmaceutical major. My passion and interest is revolves around Alternative and spiritual healing, which is the reason why I set up this blog. To document down my thoughts and experience of any form of energy work.
Like yourself, I stumbled upon meditation while on my journey towards self-healing. There were often times where I doubted my self-worth and my existence in this world. But I am glad everything turned out well… Meditation has really helped me pull through many hurdles in life and if you’re sitting on the fence, thinking if meditation is for you… I suggest you give it a try!
What Got Me Depressed…?
On 9th August 2010, I happened to read my husband’s incoming text message on his cell phone while he was in the shower… and it read: “When will you be telling her? I can’t wait for you to be finally mine. No more sharing.”
That short text message sent my world crashing.
My man and I have been dating since we were both sixteen years old. Married for 7 years and have a good looking young son. We’ve been through the full cycle of life, where we bought our first home till the day when I gave birth to our son. We have gone through everything and I never saw this coming…
Everyone we knew said he loved me a little more than I do…? I was pretty certain that my son and I were always the center around his universe.
I was all he ever wanted until I wasn’t.
After spending almost 2 decades with the man I whole heartedly love, I had to let him go. I felt the stages of worthlessness, emptiness and hopelessness. I had a lot of difficulty facing my family and friends… and even my own son. It was hard to explain to him what was going on at such a young age. I felt very guilty not being able to give him the experience of what a complete family feels like.
Looking back… I realize that it was because of how I “labelled” myself, which result in me having depression. Meditation has taught me to love myself and most importantly, it has showed me the true meaning of acceptance – accepting our flaws and be grateful for what else we still have.
I have tried many types of meditation…
But out of all that I have tried, I feel that Mindfulness Binaural Meditation works best for helping with depression. It has helped me to reduce my anxiety and uplift my spirits. Something that I really needed when I felt as though I was at rock bottom.
But before I begin sharing with you more about Mindfulness Binaural Meditation, I think it will be good to clear the air on the differences between Meditation and Praying… I think many of us, especially those who are new to Meditation tends to mix the two up…
Meditation- Relaxing or Day Dreaming ?
In today’s world, great injustice had been done to the meaning of meditation. In colloquial terms, meditation is often misunderstood as someone who is ‘relaxing’ or in the worst case possible, someone who is ‘day dreaming’. Nonetheless, it is precisely the fast paced tempo of the modern society today that causes some to pause and truly ponder on the need to achieve calamity. More people began questioning, researching and even considering meditation as a platform where they can attain true calamity while reflecting upon their inner selves. As more people start to meditate, through different avenues such as class or even during yoga, more and more questions arise about the art of meditation.
What Is The Difference Between Meditation And Contemplative Prayer
More often than not, practitioners of meditation faced this question, what is the difference between meditation and prayer? Indeed, there is often oblique distinction between prayer and meditation for many new mediators. A famous Buddhist quote reads, “Wisdom springs from meditation; without meditation wisdom wanes. Having known these two paths of progress and decline, let a man so conduct himself that his wisdom may increase.”- extracted from Dhamapadda.
Frankly, religious teachings leverage on meditation as well. It is exactly because of this, that most of us neglect the distinction between prayer and meditation. However, there are differences.
For the less vivid readers, let’s ponder the following scenarios:
Scenario A: A person shares his thoughts with the higher being, about his fears, his worries and his grievances. In return, he appeals for forgiveness or seeks to attain his personal goals
Scenario B: A person reaches a state of stillness. He becomes more relaxed and he slowly attain a sense of consciousness, which allows him to understand more fully about himself
So, which scenario depicts meditation and which depicts prayer?
Doubtlessly it would be scenario B. Scenario A depicts prayer and one idea within the act exposed this: appeal. Indeed, prayer involves appeal to a higher being whom we invested our faith in. Appealing is done to influence something that is beyond our means of achieving. This is prayer. However, meditation differs. In short, meditation is about gaining access to inner self.
Indeed, mediation can be used as a platform for some religion in a mean to achieve inner peace. Nonetheless, it does not coincide with prayers. Prayers and meditation are mutually exclusive platforms that can both be utilised by religious groups. What differentiate meditation from prayer, is also the fact that mediation can be practiced beyond religious context and applied in daily lives, for anyone who seeks enlightenment.
What Is Meditation?
To mark off with the rest of this blog post, we must first come to an understanding on what is meditation. Meditation is a precise technique that focus on resting the mind. This would allow the practitioner to attain a state of consciousness that allows him to turn inwards upon his inner self. During which, the practitioner’s mind becomes highly reflective, upon his views, his actions and his behaviours.
It is through this process, that the practitioner cultivates a higher sense of peace, clarity and happiness. To many, this idea might sound strange, unfounded and totally bogus. Nonetheless, meditation is a technique that is founded on sound scientific proof. To believe in meditation, we must firstly be confident in the fact that meditation works. So how does meditation works?
To begin, we must firstly understand the mechanism of neuroscience and our brain. Researcher Ned Herrmann, who researched extensively on electro chemical organs in the 1980s, published his research on brain waves emitted by our brains. The summary of his work can still be found in Scientific America. In short, our brain emits brain waves when we engage in different levels of brain activities. Together, there are 5 different levels of brain waves, each of them corresponds to a certain level of activities.
What Are The Very Best Brain Waves For Meditation?
Different type of brain wave is used differently for different purposes. You should use the specific type of brain wave for your specific healing.
The following illustrates the 5 major levels of brainwaves:
- Gamma State: (30 – 100Hz) This is the state in which the brain is the most active. The gamma state is associated with learning. Educators all over the world would challenge their students’ minds and try to engage their brain to reach this state. Under this state, learners would take the least effort to retain the most amount of information. However, it is precisely this level of hyper activity that leads to anxiety
- Beta State: (13 – 30Hz) The beta state is associated with our normal daily functioning mind. The alert prefrontal cortex, allows us to be engaged in day to day level of thinking and working.
- Alpha State: (9 – 13Hz) Alpha state is associated with neutral integration that is when the state of our brain hemispheres are the sot balanced. In short, this state of mind is a relaxed state of mind after we have engaged in relaxation. During this state, the self-reflective nature of our brain becomes more attuned.
- Theta State: (4 – 8Hz) The theta state is the holy grail of the meditative mind. During mediation, our brain activity engages this wave length. Our brain, under the theta state, is far more intuitive and allows for deepened level of self-reflection that has enhanced problem solving skills.
- Delta State: (1-3 Hz) The delta state is associated with sleep. Most of us can only engage this wave length during dreamless sleep.
Meditation Reduces The Level Of Brain Activity
In summary, meditation reduces the level of brain activity. This creates a longer time frame between thoughts which give us a stronger intuition. With this enhanced level of intuition, we can make better judgements, better decisions as a person.
This forms the basis to meditation, under the theta state of the brain, this level of calamity allows us to explore our inner dimensions. We are able to see ourselves more wholesome, more clearly and more calmly. We are able to finally escape the façade of this modern world and for the first time, see and understand ourselves.
With the definition and mechanism behind meditation explained, now let’s look at how to meditate and the techniques involving meditation.
Best Type Of Meditation For Depression
Personally, I feel that the best type of meditation for depression is what most people call the Mindfulness Binaural Meditation. The Mindfulness Binaural Meditation is a research-based form of meditation that is designed to develop the skill of making peace with ourselves through acceptance, patience and compassion. This form of meditation helps us be more aware of our thoughts and changes the way we experience the sensory world – by living in the moment.
This type of meditation require the use of Binaural tones which helps to alter and bring your mind into a “Theta State”. When you are in the “Theta State”, you feel a strong sense of spiritual connection and union with the universe. You’ll experience vivid visualization and great inspirations.
Mindfulness Binaural Meditation Is Not A Fad
Binaural tones are now a new-age fad that come and go… it is naturally occurring and has been around since centuries ago… What most people think is that the creation of Binaural tones were only made possible recently due to the advancement of technology… but the truth is that it has been around since Ancient civilization…
Back then, these Ancient cultures didn’t refer to this tones as Binaural tones but what they know is that this tones were consistent, rhythmic and were powerful for both physical and spiritual healing.
According to a study conducted at Stanford University back in 2006, by Scientist Melinda Maxfield, PhD, she found drumbeats used in the rituals of Ancient culture had an effect on the brain. The beat of these drumbeats which were usually at a stead rate of 4.5 beats per second, induces a trance-like state for the tribe – shifting the brainwave frequency to a low Theta brain wave state.
This type of drumbeats is common in most Ancient culture and played an important role in the overall well being of the tribe members. It is through the repetition of drumming and chanting that resulted in Tibetan monks, Shamans, Hindu Healers and Yogis to be able to induce the Theta state for healing and spiritual growth.
How Does Binaural Beats Work
Studies has shown that when a person listens to Binaural tones for an extended period of time, their level of arousal gets heightened. This is because Binaural tones activates specific systems within our brain… When we use an Electroencephalogram (EEG) to scan the electrical brain activity of people who listens to Binaural tones… what you will see is the neurons in the brain fire up!
Binaural tones influences our brain waves through entrainment. Brain wave entrainment occurs inside the brain where upon hearing 2 tones of different frequencies (simultaneously in the left and right ear), the brain perceives a third tone based on the differential of the 2 frequencies. In other words, if you listen to a 205 Hz in one ear and 210 Hz in another year, your brain will create a 5 Hz brain wave. This lowered frequency of the Binaural tone calms your brain naturally. So if you find yourself really stressed on a certain day, you can listen to soundtracks with Binaural tones that will help slow your brain and calm your mind.
How To Use Binaural Beats For Meditation
There are many types of Binaural tones. Some come in a form of simple tones whereas some includes music or words to enhance the effect. Personally…I feel that you’ll have to do a little experimenting to find out which works best for you. However, whichever Binaural tone that you choose, you should always wear headphones/earphones when listening to it.
You see.. Binaural tone work by hearing different tones in the 2 different ears. So listening to the Binaural tone on a speaker wouldn’t create the intended effect. Also, Binaural tones are not designed for you to listen while you’re being active (eg. exercising). These tones are particularly useful when you are in your resting state, or sitting down for your meditation practice. When you use these Binaural tracks, your brain will respond and creating a calming effect which makes your meditation easier. If you’re someone who practice meditation often, these Binaural tracks can guide you into deeper states of meditation.
My Experiences With Mindfulness Binaural Meditation
How I got to learn Binaural tones and Mindfulness meditation is through a course by Greg Thurston. It was something that I discovered online… I am sure you understand this as well… But… having depression isn’t like suffering from other type of conditions. You feel the stress in your head but you got no one to talk to. No one understands you…and even if you did have a conversation with them, they’ll just reassure you with “don’t worry, everything is gonna turn out fine”.
What I learnt through this episode of depression is that, the only way to overcome depression is through self-actualization. You’ll need to make a conscious effort to meet and fight your inner “demons”. You are your worse enemy! Only you can overcome your problems. No one can help you and no one will help you.
I completely understand that anxiety that you face during this confrontation and making peace with yourself… I was suicidal once… and I don’t want you to go down that road!
Greg Thurston’s 7 Minutes Mindfulness Course
It was Greg Thurston’s 7 Minutes Mindfulness course that changed my life entirely… I went from being depressed to almost losing the custody of my son… It was at that moment that I found hope and it turned my life around.
In his course, he taught me how being “mindful” could decrease my symptoms of depression and the urge of being suicidal. It also increased the neuroplasticity of my mind which helped me adapt to changes and stay calm in times of depression. The Binaural tracks that came with his course were also very helpful with my meditation. I felt really relaxed after each meditation session. It felt like my body went through a fully body massage…
It was through his lessons that made me pull my life back together… and I have never looked back ever since. If you are new to Mindfulness Binaural types of Meditation, I do suggest you check it out. His course is pretty cheap, considering the amount of materials that were put together. He also has a link for the discount, so its worth taking a look.
I highly recommend this based on the contents, how his course is structured and most importantly,it easy to understand. However, if you are like me and you’re a fan of hardcopies… this is probably the only downside of his course.
Basic Techniques Involving Meditation
Breathing Techniques During Meditation
The key mechanism behind how to mediate is breathing. Breathing is a technique that has two marvelous use during the course of mediation. Firstly, the graduation in the length of breathing controls the wave length of our brain. As we draw in deeper, slower breath, we begin to relax our brain and slow down our level of brain activities. Next, breathing works on par with our focus.
More often than not, beginners face difficulty in staying focus during meditation. We have an analytical mind that darts around too much. This could not give us the focus we need so desperately during mediation. Instead, focus on the rhythm of your breaths. As our brain begins to wander, deviate it back by focusing on the counts of our breaths. On the other hand, we should not just stop at counting our breaths. We should watch our breaths too.
When we breathe in, pay great attention to our muscle groups, how our diaphragm contracts and relaxes, as the air flow through the capacity of our lungs. Focus on the channel of this gusts of air into our body and feel the muscle groups. Mediation is all about self-awareness and understanding our body is a great depiction of self-awareness.
Posture During Meditation
Aside, breathing techniques, there are other techniques that meditation involved, namely posture and visualization. Posture is another fundamental to conscious relaxation. We must remain relaxed, but not too relaxed till the point we doze off and lose our consciousness. Begin by sitting on a cushioned platform, be it a chair or on the flow.
However, do bear in mind that the seat is comfortable enough to sustain yourself through the long hours of mediation without discomfort. Discomfort causes stress and distracts you from focusing during meditation. Sit up right with your spine unsupported. Practitioners with back problem could consider sitting close to a wall so that support is ever available.
However, do take note that lying down during meditation is discouraged. Lying down leads to deep relaxation and often induce sleep. This contradicts the idea behind mediation as we need our mind to be conscious.
Refrain From Distractions During Meditation
Not just how we sit, but where we sit matters too. Distraction is a huge taboo. Refrain from sitting close to visual and volume metric distractions. Visual distraction may constitute bright flashing colours. These beams would interrupt our focus and disrupt our visualisation while meditating. Noise is another issue in today’s environment.
Find a suitable place where the noises are curtained away. If such places are inconvenient, do pick the more peaceful time frame. At night or prior to the crack of dawn are suitable time frame which offers the most desired level of serenity, away from the noises of our modern life. It is important to note that other forms of discomfort may pose as distractions too.
Throat Tightness During Meditation
Throat tightness is an often discomfort faced by our practitioners. To combat this discomfort, firstly you need to readjust your sitting and your breathing. Feel whether the position of your head is in the right place and whether your breathing is natural. A good posture with the head position looking forward is key to ensuring an unblocked windpipe. Next, natural breathing is crucial. Do not purposely alter your breathing to reach a more relaxed state.
Your brain needs the oxygen. Instead, slowly adjust your breathing to suit your most preferred level. Lastly, if all else fails, a technique adopted by Chakras is to make s soft “hum” while exhaling to clear the passage way. As the “hum” is made, pay greater focus on achieving calamity and cast away all distractions, troubles or worries. This could help to deviate focus away from your discomfort
Visualization Technique During Meditation
Next technique on our list is visualisation. Visualisation during meditation is frankly a by-product. However, it is an important by product that seeks as a re-affirmation to our inner peace. Beginners may have the wrong idea that visualisation is needed during meditation. In truth, meditation requires focus on the breathing as mentioned in the prior paragraph. Controlled breathing leads to relaxation and it is this state of relaxation and emptiness in our mind that sparks visualisation. Hence, do not go with an end goal in mind. Stay relaxed and let the endless possibilities flow through your mind.
Personally, to me, the best type of Meditation for depression is definitely the Mindfulness Binaural Meditation. This form of meditation helps to cultivate deeper insights to the inner self. Only after we have made peace with our past, we will then be able to move on. Binaural tones helps with the calming of our mind when facing our fears. So it is the most important missing piece of the puzzle that helps us step out from depression. If you would like to learn, I recommend Greg Thurston’s 7 Minutes Mindfulness course, as that is the only course that I feel is worth looking at. The rest of the courses out there is just isn’t as detailed.
If you have tried the 7 Minutes Mindfulness course and would like to share your experience, I would like to hear from you! 🙂