Meditation is widely recommended for anyone struggling with the blues – and after 2020, who isn’t? It’s a great way to manage mental health, decrease stress, and increase happiness. If you’ve been looking for a low-cost, easy way to battle the blues, here are the meditation basics.
Why It Works
Many people shy away from the idea of meditation as a remedy for the blues because meditation increases our awareness of our thoughts – and our thoughts are most often what cause us to feel low. We might be stuck in cycles of self-criticism, stress loops, or anxious projecting, and who wants to slow down and pay attention to all that?
But meditation is actually the process of becoming aware of our thoughts without passing judgment on them. It is not suppressing thoughts, pushing them away, or trying to give them a different spin.
Meditation is often likened to the action of sitting by a river and watching what floats by. There is a never-ending stream of leaves and twigs (our thoughts) washing by on the currents, and all we do in meditation is watch them go by without judgment or attachment.
In this way, we learn to emotionally detach from our thoughts, which removes us from destructive psychological loops. Further, we learn to identify when we are feeling low long before we’re actually in the slump, giving us a chance to proactively engage in self-care to help alleviate the issue.
How to Meditate
Part of the attraction that many have to meditation is the utter simplicity of the practice. You can do it anytime, anywhere. Simply find a comfortable place to sit with a straight back. (You can lie down, as well, but many find that it’s too easy to fall asleep during practice while lying down.)
Next, all you have to do is concentrate on your breathing. Simply pay attention to your breath going in and out. This is harder than it sounds – your thoughts will constantly vie for your attention. But let them pass by without following them or reacting. Just keep paying attention to your breath.
Make It a Habit
Remember that in order to enjoy the benefits of meditation, you have to make it a daily practice. Even just two minutes a day before you go to bed or after you wake up can make a huge improvement in your mental health.