Can Christian meditation cure depression? Most doctors and psychologist disagree. Depression, and specially acute depression, should be treated by a licensed professional. If you feel depressed you should consult with a medical practitioner right away.
Now imagine if a cure for depression existed that was more effective and long-lasting than pharmaceuticals without any side effects.
Psychologists from the University of Exeter conducting "mindfulness-based cognitive therapy" (MBCT) discovered it to be more effective than drugs or counseling alone. Four months after starting the controlled experiment, 77% of the patients felt well enough to stop taking prescribed antidepressants.
MBCT marries the Eastern concept of meditation with current Western cognitive therapy. In this practice patients are taught a very simple technique and are told to repeat the process at home for 20 - 30 minutes a day.
The reason why antidepressants are so widely used by people who suffer from depression is because they work. They are efficient at quickly minimizing the symptoms of depression. Unfortunately, when individuals halt usage they become particularly vulnerable to a relapse. It appears so far that a combination of meditation and cognitive therapy has a high rate of relapse prevention. This finding shows promise as an alternative to long-term use of medication.
Why Depression Relapse Occurs
MBCT was developed by psychologists at the Universities of Cambridge, Toronto, and Oxford. The technique was developed to help stabilize mood swings during and after the use of antidepressant drugs. The reason why this critical work has so much importance is because approximately 47% of patients relapse into depression. Even if an individual continues with the prescribed medication, nearly half still relapse and most common reason is obsessive brooding.
Brooding is a key feature of all depression. Mentally healthy people have the ability reflect on a sad thought and let it pass quickly. But people predisposed to depression tend to brood over sad thoughts, for days, and weeks. This of course speaks directly to fixed mental patterns. Fixed mental patterns over sad thoughts can quickly turn into depression. Meditation has proven to "rewire" the brain in a more positive way, one that emphasizes positivity and flexibility. Additionally, Christian meditation teaches people to be more loving toward God and others. Compassion and kindness is the natural byproduct that could ultimately break the depression cycle.
The Christian Meditation Fix And Why It Works
Although the MBCT technique is simple, and revolves around "mindfulness meditation, it is not and answer for all people. With nearly 70% of the American population vowing to be Christian secular meditation can be unappealing. Christian meditation on the other hand allows one's faith to be an integral part to healing and recovery.
One of the destructive themes depression is that it hijacks our attention. Once our attention is locked in to sad, or debilitating thoughts, it generates a depressed mood, or feeling, which lead us to remember sad, or debilitating thought, again. This downward spiral deepens depression.
Meditation gives the brain a chance to "reboot" for a few minutes. This quiet time allows the brain to let go of disabling thought patterns. Once the brain is released, even for a few minutes, the brain can resume normal thinking once again.
When faith enters the equation the we touch our inherit ability to feel good. Faith brings positive psychology to the forefront of the brain, and positive psychology builds on the best qualities of life. Constructive cognitions about the future begin to develop around optimism, hope, faith, and even joy.
Guided Christian Meditation For Depression - Technique and Script
1. Find a comfortable quiet place to sit. Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes.
2. Take a deep breath in, hold for a couple seconds, and release. Do this 3 to 4 times.
3. Mentally watch your breath as it flow in and out of your chest. Simply observe the natural rhythm of the breath without altering it.
4. It's perfectly normal for your mind to wander. If it does it will probably involve thoughts that have taunted you for a while. It's important to understand that this is simply your brain on auto pilot. You want to meditate, but your brain defaults over to rehearsed neurological connections - thoughts. When this happens simply understand it for what it is, an impulsive connection and let it go. Eventually the brain will quiet down.
5. As the brain quiets down start loving, and adoring Jesus with all your heart, soul, and mind. The best tool to keep your mind on Jesus and not everything else is your breath.
6. Combine your inhale and exhale with a word, or phrase, like, "Yes" on the inhale, and "Jesus" on the exhale. You can use any word or phrase to help you stay mindful of your love for Jesus. This technique will eventually quiet down your bran so much that your will prayer-mantra will automatically become silent peace in the presence of Jesus.
7. Stay in this state of stillness (Psalm 46:10) for 2 - 5 minutes.
8. Take a deep breath. Begin moving your hands and feet. Gently start moving your head. Then very slowly start to open your eyes.
9. Repeat every day for 20-30 minutes.
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It's obvious that God's construction of the brain is beyond comprehension. Fortunately, the complex design includes mechanisms for healing, and Psalm 46:10 holds a scientifically proven key.
The way to better mental health is a matter of how we think, or in our mental patterns. If we decide not to conform to debilitating mental patterns, or repetitive negative neurological connections (Romans 12:2), but instead take time out to be still (Psalm 46:10) and love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Luke 10:27), then our capacity to love life and others (Luke 10:27) will increase until it becomes the reality we seek.
Christian meditative principles are proving to be very beneficial in battling depression. If you have any guided Christian meditation for depression please share it below to help others. We love you, and we're praying for you.
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