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May 17 2013

Some Thoughts on Secular Meditation and Depression/Anxiety

(This is part of a series on mindfulness based stress reduction: a secular, evidence-based meditation practice that I’ve recently started.)

Note to self: This works.

It has been a bad, bad couple of days. I don’t want to get into a lot of details… but it hasn’t been good. My depression, which has largely been lifting over the last couple/few weeks, relapsed with a resounding crash. I’ve been feeling alarmed, unsafe, exposed, powerless, despairing, unmotivated, hopeless.

I’m on a plane as I write this. With several hours to sit in one place and do nothing, I decided to meditate.

It was difficult: my mind has been racing even faster and wilder than usual, and it has been perseverating on all the dark things, all the failures of my past, all the worst possible outcomes of my future. It was more than a little difficult to just sit and be: be with myself, be with my thoughts and feelings and sensations. I bloody well didn’t want to be with my thoughts and feelings and sensations. My thoughts and feelings and sensations were freaking me the fuck out. I wanted to shut them up, shut them out, drown them out. But I knew — both from my own experience and from the research that’s been done on this mindfulness-based stress reduction thing — that this might work: that this might quiet me down, restore some sense of peace. Or at least, restore some sense of self.

So I did it. I sat still in my seat on the plane, and closed my eyes, and focused on my breathing… and my breathing… and my breathing… and on the sole of my left foot where it was pressing against the floor of the plane… and on my left big toe… and on my left pinky toe… and on the toes in between…

And when I finished, I felt better.

Like, really better.

I’m still upset. But I feel… I don’t quite know how to put this into words. I feel like myself, feeling upset. I don’t feel like the upset itself. I don’t feel swallowed by the upset, or carried away by it. I’m still upset… but I feel like the stuff I’m upset about is manageable. And I feel like it’s worth it. I feel like the stuff I’m upset about is one sour note in a good piece of music… not like it’s swallowing me whole.

At the beginning of the session, my mind was stubbornly racing to all the dark things. It took me I don’t know how long — I wasn’t looking at a clock — to really feel the sole of my left foot, even for a second, and really experience the sensations in it. My mind would not shut the fuck up: I had to keep noticing the thoughts and gently pull my focus back… and notice the thoughts and gently pull my focus back… and notice the thoughts and gently pull my focus back… like every three fucking seconds. I wasn’t looking at a clock, but I suspect it took me a good half hour just to get through my left leg.

But by the time I got to my right leg, I was starting to feel better. My mind was still racing, still frantically jumping from branch to branch… but at least some of the branches it was landing on before I pulled my focus back on were happy ones, plans I was excited about, ideas I’ve been having fun with. By the time I got to my pelvic girdle, I was remembering that I actually enjoy meditation and take pleasure in it: that it is a deep and genuine pleasure to set aside time and experience my body, to notice that I am my body and to return to that awareness. (I always like it when I get to my pelvic girdle.) There was a weird scary moment when I got to my mouth and nose: the feeling of awareness of each part of my body felt like sinking into a warm bath, and when it got to my mouth and nose, I had a sudden panicky feeling like I was about to drown. But I noticed it, and paused, and just stayed with my neck for a little while, and finally I reframed the “sinking into water” thing as “sinking into a pool of super-oxygenated air,” and moved on. By the time I got to the top of my head, the process of noticing thoughts and letting them go to be in my body, noticing thoughts and letting them go to be in my body, had become second-nature. And by the time I was finishing, by the time I was experiencing my entire body as a whole entity and was returning to noticing my surroundings and my sense of myself in the world, I felt… not just calmer, not just happier, not just more hopeful. I felt like myself. I felt capable of experiencing pleasure, capable of managing the problems in my life, capable of doing the work that I love so much… because I felt like I had a self. I felt like there was a there there.

It was like a circuit-breaker.

This is not a panacea for depression. Far from it. I don’t think this would be working without meds, and therapy, and exercise, and sitting on the sofa with Ingrid petting cats, and all the other things I do to heal my depression.

But it sure as heck is helping.

So I’m writing this: partly to let other people know that they might want to check this out, but mostly as a reminder to myself:

This works.

So keep doing it.

I wrote something a few days ago about the meditation practice, about how after a week of doing it I was already seeing noticeable results…and about how then, inexplicably, I stopped doing it. As if it were a theorem in math, and once I’d figured it out, I didn’t need to do it again, and could move on to the next theorem. But it’s not a theory. It’s a practice. And there’s a difference between theory and practice. I can’t say to myself, “Aha! You now know that meditation helps with your depression and anxiety and makes you better able to focus — problem solved!” Any more than I can say to myself, “Aha! You know that working out builds your muscles and gives you strength and stamina — problem solved!” I have to actually freaking do it. Several times a week. Every day, if I can.

But when I do it, my life gets better.

So yeah. Note to self. This works. Keep doing it.

Other piece in this series:
On Starting a Secular Meditation Practice
Meditation and Breakfast
Meditation, and the Difference Between Theory and Practice

28 comments

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  1. 1
    rachelholmes

    Hi Greta,

    I’m really glad the meditation is helping. I’ve suffered depression on and off most of my life. I started a meditation practice towards the end of last year and meditate every day. Do keep at it. Despite being made redundant at the end of January, I’ve kept out of the pit. Difficult feelings haven arisen, including in meditation – if you’re being mindful of what is happening and not distracting yourself, you’re going to come face to face with those difficult feelings – but, through practice, I’m learning to acknowledge them, sit with them and allow them to pass. That’s not to say I don’t sometimes get sucked into them but, having deepened my understanding that these things pass away by themselves if left alone, I find them much less overwhelming.

    I’ve noticed other benefits too,as has my partner. Apparently I’m more stable.

    I’m still a baby in meditation and it’s possible that a more seasoned meditator would read this and think “ah, the optimism of the newbie!” But these are my experiences so far.

    I wish you well.

  2. 2
    Jadehawk

    well, since I’m currently sitting in the cafeteria of my hostel, unable to sleep, I might as well unload some thoughts on depression and this sort of stuff. Please don’t take any of it as an attack or criticism, I’m just unloading some mental garbage.

    This is not a panacea for depression. Far from it. I don’t think this would be working without meds, and therapy, and exercise, and sitting on the sofa with Ingrid petting cats, and all the other things I do to heal my depression.

    this kind of stuff is why I keep on telling myself not to read other people’s writings about depression (obviously I’m not listening to myself). Reading this paragraph all of a sudden kinda felt like a punch in the face. It’s not the first time I’ve had that happen, either. I remember I did start reading some of your writing about depression when your problems with it started. It was interesting, right until you started writing about how this or that situation “felt like normal”; that felt like a punch in the face too, because fuck if I remember what “normal” feels like. Pretty sure the last time I was not depressed was when I was 12 or so.
    Another bit that felt like that was actually the most recent Hyperbole and a Half comic: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html. Glad the author pulled through, but just feels distinctly “not fair” that someone can just be depressed for some months, wander into a doctor’s office, and have it fixed as if it were a broken foot or something. Cuz I’ve been trying to get someone to help me fix my depression for 14 years or so (on-and-off of course), and nothing works. For example, I started taking antidepressants recently, because of the accessibility to cheap healthcare as a result of being back in college. They didn’t make me less depressed; they made me depressed, plus anxious and/or paranoid and/or apathetic to everything. Plus, given that I don’t know what normal is supposed to feel like, how will I know if any of the pills ever work properly? Anyway, I had to stop taking them, since the once I’ve tried so far were making me worse instead of better, and my access to them ends in August anyway.
    The counseling here was just as useless; I think the college counselors might be too used to 20-year-olds experiencing a depressive episode for the first time, so it makes sense that they’d try the whole “well, what do you think would work to get you to stop [behavior that's depressive symptom]?”, but to me that’s just infuriating.

    Besides, my depression seems to have gone weird over the last 6-7 years or so. It used to feel like what people describe (e.g. a “liar” that tells them they’re worthless/a failure and no one loves them; or like what you’ve described: “perseverating on all the dark things, all the failures of my past, all the worst possible outcomes of my future”). But it stopped doing that. It doesn’t “lie” to me anymore; it’s become quite honest about howI have great potential that it will do its damn best to thwart (and effectively so, given where I am in my life now vs. the advantages I started my adult life out with) by simply draining me of energy whenever I actually need it for something until I end up feeling completely hollowed out. Been feeling like that for the last month (that “broke” a few days ago, but I’m still not fine; obviously, or else I’d be sleeping and not writing this). So given that it’s become this weird atypical thing, I don’t think any standard therapy for depression is going to quite help anymore. So I just get frustrated; I mean, if (as the Hyperbole and a Half comic noted), 19 months can result in feeling like everything is hopeless bullshit “And the longer it takes to feel different, the more it starts to seem like everything might actually be hopeless bullshit”; now try to imagine about 19 years, and not for lack of trying to make it go away.

    anyway, this was kinda pointless. I guess I just felt like whining at someone, and this was vaguely related.
    I’m glad that working out and meditation works for you. No one deserves to feel depressed, it’s such a shitty mind-eater. I was thinking maybe I should try, except then I remembered right now I kinda don’t like what my body feels like, so that wouldn’t help. I’d have to fix that first before spending so much time being acutely aware of it would feel anything other than even more depressing.

  3. 3
    huntstoddard

    I was thinking maybe I should try, except then I remembered right now I kinda don’t like what my body feels like, so that wouldn’t help.

    Not necessarily. I practice meditation in a limited, but daily, way but wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means; however to me it seems as if meditation shuts down those aspect of your mind that judge body sensations in a “like” or “dislike” way, so it may be that those are actually irrelevant to what you obtain by it. I have heard it said by mainstream “western” therapists that meditation is no good when you’re “in the thick” of depression or anxiety, but that my be due to their limited encounter with deep practice. I’ve yet to find out of one can truly circumvent what you might call acute, or critical, episodes of depression or anxiety with meditation, but it may well turn out that with sufficient practice and preparation, it is possible.

  4. 4
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @Jadehawk
    There are also other things you can use for a meditative focus. For example, you can focus on just your breathing (letting go of any thoughts other than the in/out) or your heartbeat. You could do a meditation in which you imagine yourself being rooted to the ground like a tree, drawing energy up through your feet (or your butt if you’re sitting) and down from the sun through your arms and head, letting all other thoughts blow gently away in the breeze (I know it sounds kinda new-agey, and corny, but whatever). You can lie down and picture yourself floating on the surface of a pond and let go of every thought that comes into your mind so it can sink to the bottom, maintaining a focus on just feeling the peacefulness of floating.

  5. 5
    jonlynnharvey

    A bit late to this. Missed the first three posts. There’s actually an entire movement (probably of minimal interest to you but maybe some) called “secular Buddhism”. It’s rooted in the autobiographical works of Stephen Batchelor and Tim Ward both of whom spent a whole year in a Tibetan monastery and independently concluded they were being exposed to an odd combination of profundity and superstition.

    Batchelor’s “Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist” might interest you. (Then again it might not!)

  6. 6
    Greta Christina

    Jadehawk @ #2: I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

    It’s one of the things that’s hardest about writing about depression. I know, speaking for myself, that when the depression is bad, sometimes reading about other people’s depression and what’s helped them is useful — and sometimes it’s really, really not. Sometimes it’s like a lifeline, like, “Oh, that’s something that might work, it’s worked for other people, I haven’t tried it, maybe it would help” — and sometimes it seems like a lifeboat that everyone else is on and you can’t get to. Like in that Hyperbole and a Half comic: “Are you taunting me? Is this some weird game where you name all the things I can’t do?” And I never know when what I write about my depression is going to be received one way, and when it’s going to be received the other way, and by whom.

    I will echo what others here have said: meditation doesn’t have to focus on your body, that’s just the technique I happen to be learning. And I’ll also say that not all meds are the same: if one doesn’t work or has intolerable side effects, that doesn’t mean others will be the same — and current research shows that meds + therapy works better than meds alone or therapy alone. (Also, meds sometimes make you feel more depressed temporarily before they start working: when you start waking up from the depression a little bit, it’s like you start being more aware of just how fucking depressed you are.) And what works for some people doesn’t work for everyone. So please do hang in there, please keep trying, you may still find a combination of treatments that helps you.

    But yes — this sucks, and nothing I can say is going to make that not be true. I’m so very sorry you’re going through this. Again, to echo the Hyperbole and a Half comic: Yeah, your fish are super dead. I still like you, though.

  7. 7
    Stefan

    Greta — this is a pretty down to earth book that may benefit you… “The Depression Book: Depression as an Opportunity for Spiritual Growth” by Cheri Huber. I read it years ago and although it’s not a cure, of course, it points out a lot of things that can help. While it contains Zen and says Spiritual Growth in the title – I take the spiritual element as “secular” spiritual – i.e. as the peaceful feeling one gets from being mindful/focused and seeing our own mental processes very clearly rather than as anything supernatural or woo-like.

    Here’s the Amazon link : http://www.amazon.com/The-Depression-Book-Opportunity-Spiritual/dp/096362556X

  8. 8
    ainuvande

    Thank you for this. And frankly, for writing about coping with depression and finding help. I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life, and sometimes you lose sight of “normal.” I find it helpful to hear someone else say: it is always a struggle, but it is possible to feel like a person and not a ball of upset.

    @Jadehawk, for me, medication doesn’t make it better. But it lets me experience the world again so that I can reach my coping tools to work towards better. The two analogies I’ve made to psychiatrists and therapist is that it brings me up to zero so that I can register on the one-to-ten scale my therapists are so fond of (really not accurate), and it’s like suddenly being able to see in color when everything’s been black and white for ages. Does it make me better? Not really. But it lets me feel things other than emotional pain again. It gives me the experiential referents that my therapists use. It’s very hard to talk about the differences between blue and purple when you can’t see colors in the first place. I still need therapy to parse the colors and keep myself mentally healthy. The medication is like a step-stool that lets me reach the tools that allow me to do so.

    Also, finding a therapist you click with is HARD. You are looking for someone you trust to tell all your secrets to. And who you trust to give you good advice in return. If they won’t at least do a phone consultation to figure out if you fit with them for free (even better, a “getting to know you” session) move on. What you describe with the hollow and lack of energy is not uncommon, especially in the chronically depressed. There are therapists out there who know how to work with that. It all just takes searching. And recognizing you’re not suddenly going to be all better. drugs only level the playing field. Therapy gives you the weapons to fight back. You still do the battling. You just have better odds and safety net if something goes wrong.

  9. 9
    sheila

    @Jadehawk, we care. Not sure how much help that is, but we care.

  10. 10
    fmcp

    Delurking for two reasons – first, thank you Greta for the reminder that it’s worth trying to meditate. I dig the breathing thing myself, but had a nasty lung infection and just plain forgot to go back to it once I could actually breathe normally again.

    Second, I had a thought for Jadehawk (and please ignore this completely if it bugs you to hear from strangers). Is it at all possible that you’re suffering from Bipolar II? It’s very commonly misdiagnosed as major depression, because it doesn’t involve full blown mania, and most people who live with it spend way more time depressed than hypomanic, and sometimes spend more time depressed than “normal” (which I have occassionally forgotten about myself). Anyway, I tried nine different anti-depressants, and gave up on treatment for a long time. I know what it feels like when depression stops lying – it’s pretty damn awful. I wish I had more to offer, because I hate it that anyone feels like that.

  11. 11
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    e-hugs to Jadehawk, and condolences on your fish. I am much luckier than you, so I hope it doesn’t feel like taunting. I can attest to the fact that drugs don’t work the same on everyone: those popular SSRIs do nothing at all for me. The old tricyclics helped me, and a low dose SNRI seems to be right for me at the moment. And yah, all the other things – meditation, exercise, counselling, sunshine etc.

  12. 12
    Kali Dali

    goddamn you are fucking ugly. Kill yourself.

  13. 13
    llewelly

    oh look, tiresome body shaming troll comes to the depression post.

  14. 14
    llewelly

    Sorry, I forgot the no-response rule.

  15. 15
    llewelly

    I have to second Jadehawk’s comments about how hard it can be to seek treatment when every piece of advice sounds like you’ve heard it a million times, and you have no idea what “normal” means .

  16. 16
    llewelly

    I should add, it is good that many people are finding help. I don’t mean to imply that isn’t important; it can save lives, as some of us know all too well. But it can be very difficult to read about when you feel sure it won’t work for you.

  17. 17
    Greta Christina

    Kali Dali @ #12, unsurprisingly, has been banned from this blog.

  18. 18
    rebeccahensler

    Thank you for reminding me that my health care provider recommended this practice and I said, “Yeah, that sounds like it might help,” and then promptly left the flyer in my car and forgot the whole thing. I do that.

    My big concern is that it is one more thing I would have to find time to do. Time when I’m not too tired to focus on anything, much less refocus and refocus and refocus. Maybe on my commute? Is this something I could do for 40 minutes on BART if I have a seat?

  19. 19
    llewelly

    Thank you for banning that troll.

  20. 20
    Greta Christina

    My big concern is that it is one more thing I would have to find time to do. Time when I’m not too tired to focus on anything, much less refocus and refocus and refocus. Maybe on my commute? Is this something I could do for 40 minutes on BART if I have a seat?

    rebeccahensler @ #18: Time is definitely an issue with this practice. For me, the time works out because time spent meditating is more than made up for by the fact that I work so much more efficiently when I do it. But that equation is different when you’re a freelancer. There’s a saying that if you can’t find 10 minutes a day to meditate, you need to meditate for an hour a day: part of me sees the point of that (as well as the humor), and part of me thinks it’s a really fucking cluelessly privileged thing to say to people whose lives are overloaded and exhausted.

    So. All that being said: What I’ve been finding for myself is that yes, to at least some extent, i can sneak it in around the cracks. I can meditate on planes. I can do small versions of it on BART, or waiting for a bus, or any time I have a few minutes of dead time. I’d personally find it hard to get deep into it on BART, since you do have to pay attention to which stop you’re getting off at… but I can do it in a lighter way in situations like that. I don’t get the same degree of value that I do when I really set aside a decent chunk of uninterrupted time, and I don’t know if I could do the small versions if I hadn’t done the larger versions several times first to get the rough hang of it. YMMV, though.

    One thing that might help, though, is to remember that it’s not about perfection anyway. A big part of the point of it is that it’s not about perfection. If I’m too tired to really be able to focus well, I focus poorly, which is better than not focusing at all.

  21. 21
    Jadehawk

    hi again.

    I appreciate the commiserations and suggestions for non-body-focused meditation; also the suggestion that it might be Bipolar II; bipolar is something I’ve not ever considered, because there’s just nothing that can be even remotely described as a manic period; but if you say that BII doesn’t have real manic episodes, it might be worth looking into.

    I’m baffled by suggestions that assume continued access to healthcare providers as if I hadn’t just written that my access to healthcare ends in August. I guess I didn’t make that obvious enough?

  22. 22
    Jadehawk

    actually…

    decreased need for sleep, are extremely outgoing and competitive, and have a great deal of energy

    hahahaha no. i don’t ever have “decreased need for sleep”, I sometimes have insomnia; and “a great deal of energy” has never happened, unless you consider an anxiously agitated state to be “energy”. Guess I’ve not had anything resembling hypomania, either.

    The description of “mixed depression” sounds like some stress-induced episodes I’ve had tho.

  23. 23
    zenbo

    I’ve been meditating off and on for a few decades and can honestly say that the more I do it, the more effective I am in my life and relationships – just a better person. That said, I find the preconceptions folks have about meditation to be frustrating. You don’t have to be sitting full-lotus, half lotus, or even cross-legged.
    You don’t need a mantra, a yantra, a guru or special audio tapes – just breathe and focus on your breathing. Notice how your thoughts bubble up, but return to awareness of your breathing and eventually the constant chatter that we torture ourselves with will subside.
    If you don’t have 23 minutes, do it for 3. There will never be a perfect situation but the benefits can be immediate in the ability to focus your awareness where you want instead of being bombarded by the unrelenting stimulus of modern life.
    I forgot who said that the majority of society’s ills result from our inability to sit quietly in a room by ourselves
    but I seem to recall it being said a couple of centurys ago. So much truer now. (Love you, Greta!)

  24. 24
    huntstoddard

    I forgot who said that the majority of society’s ills result from our inability to sit quietly in a room by ourselves
    but I seem to recall it being said a couple of centurys ago. So much truer now. (Love you, Greta!)

    I love the book title Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There, though I haven’t actually read it. The title itself gives me a kick. I wholeheartedly agree that meditation, far from a net time consumer, can often “return investment” in terms of daily efficiency by several factors. So much of our daily effort is (subclinical) manic running from this to that without focus or effectiveness. If you can just pick one of those things and follow it to completion, you ‘re probably getting more done than ten half-finished efforts.

    About spur of the moment meditating wherever you happen to be: I’m sure that is very useful, though I have to say that in my experience nothing beats a routine in a specific place. Some people try to explain this with B/S like spiritual auras, but in reality I think your mind is associating a specific place with certain mental states. So it becomes much easier to drop into them when you’re in your special place.

  25. 25
    Quinapalus

    I forgot who said that the majority of society’s ills result from our inability to sit quietly in a room by ourselves
    but I seem to recall it being said a couple of centurys ago. So much truer now.

    Ironically, in the 1660s by none other than the proposer of the infamous Wager:

    [...] j’ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d’une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    Lire la suite sur : http://www.etudes-litteraires.com/pascal.php#ixzz2Tukyp3Hj

    My best stab at a fairly literal translation, which I’m sure is none too good since I’ve never studied French:

    [I have discovered that all the adversities of man come from a single thing, which is that he doesn't know how to stay quietly in a room.]

    This section (139) goes on to describe, in detail, a hypothetical king who must use all the shiny features of the world to distract himself from the inevitable miseries of mortality; the exact same miseries, according to tradition, confrontation with which drove Prince Siddhartha from his life of ease to become an ascetic and eventually the Buddha. It is at this point I feel I should remind you that the Pensées are a defense of Christianity, and many commentators have warned that individual aphorisms from it are easily misunderstood without knowledge of the context of the whole thing. [Which I certainly don't have myself.]

  26. 26
    Anthony

    I have nothing useful to add, I just wanted to echo jadehawk #2. I very rarely comment because I don’t think anyone should be subjected to what goes on in the cesspool of random thoughts that I call my mind. I don’t even know why I’m doing it now. Well, yes I do: classic plea for attention and validation. Of course, if I happen to receive said validation, I will likely dismiss it as lies. Hence the reason that I rarely comment.

    Perhaps what “inspired” me was this: (with apologies for modification)

    Another bit that felt like [a punch in the face] was actually the most recent Hyperbole and a Half comic. [...] I’ve been trying to get someone to help me fix my depression for [far longer than Jadehawk], and nothing works. [...] It doesn’t “lie” to me anymore; it’s become quite honest about how I have great potential that it will do its damn best to thwart [me] [...] by simply draining me of energy whenever I actually need it for something until I end up feeling completely hollowed out.

    I seem to get “punched in the face” every time I read something along those lines. Even if I’m feeling reasonably OK, a post that tells of how someone conquered a recent episode (Greta: good for you, btw :) ) just serves to remind me of how there is no hope or me. That’s a truth that I’ve had to accept.

    I remember someone (I think it was Paul Fidalgo, as a comment on something that Miri wrote) saying once: Whenever I’m told I need to love myself, I feel like I’m being asked to lie, to pretend to feel something I don’t.
    I feel like I’m forced to lie in order to not make the people around me feel bad. When I do that, I end up feeling worse because I’m lying to people, and I feel bad for lying. Then I have to lie to people and pretend that I’m OK, and I feel worse for lying, and I have to lie to people and pretend that I’m OK, and I feel worse still for lying, and then I have to lie to people and pretend that I’m OK, and I feel even worse for lying, and then I have to lie to people and pretend that I’m OK….

    The last time I was caught in this cycle it was broken by the stark realization that I had a sharp knife to my throat. Fortunately, there aren’t any sharp knives here; I don’t think I could deal with being carted off to the mental ward in handcuffs again.

    Please accept my apologies for spoiling your blog. It will not happen again.

  27. 27
    Moniqa Aylin

    Moving meditation is an option I’d like to tout for those who know sitting’s not for them. Going for a walk, hike, or run outdoors and focusing on body and breath or the sounds, smells, and scenery is about the only way I can quiet my mind (and anxiety) when I’m conscious. I recently took up swimming, too, and discovered the bonus side effect of improved performance when I can manage to stop thinking about my to-do lists. You get the mental/emotional benefits of meditation plus improved physical performance and enjoyment of movement, and possibly the added effect of regular exercise on mood stabilization. With the big caveat, of course, of needing to be able to drag my miserable self out of bed in the first place.

    And thank you, Greta, for sharing. I’m deeply moved to have begun finding writers and artists willing and able to speak about this experience. Today it gives me hope.

  28. 28
    nautilus

    Kaiser Permanente has a great program for addressing depression. Their “classes” teach meditation and mindfulness to take control of your thoughts and ground you in the now; and cognitive therapy techniques, i.e.critical thinking tailored to challenging negative thoughts . It is a very logical, adaptable, secular, none-disease based approach to wellness. Instead of walking away with an RX, people walk away with a tool box of approaches they can use in combating their depression. These are 12 week courses often called Mindful Mood Management or something similar. Nothing revolutionary in the content ; but the concept of combining these approaches to treat depression is somewhat new.

  1. 29
    #mencallmethings: “fucking ugly. Kill yourself.” » Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] Comment from Kali Dali, in the discussion on the post Some Thoughts on Secular Meditation and Depression/Anxiety: [...]

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    Secular Meditation: How Down Time is Changing » Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] practice is helping with a lot of things: depression, anxiety, work productivity, motivation and focus. But I wonder if one of the most valuable things I’m [...]

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