Unlocking Peace: The Power of Meditation in Battling Depression

How to do Meditation

Meditation, an ancient practice dating back centuries in India and China, holds the possibility to aid in the treatment of depression. While it’s essential to note that results won’t manifest overnight, the road toward managing your thoughts demands time, energy, and dedication, according to Dr. E. Robert Schwartz, MD, the director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Harnessing the Power of Meditation Against Depression

According to Dr. Schwartz, the myriad forms of meditation all share a common goal: attaining a state of heightened awareness. This heightened state of awareness can offer massive benefits to individuals grappling with depression and anxiety.

Substantial evidence recommends that meditation therapies may provide relaxation to individuals dealing with clinical depressive disorders, even those in the midst of an extensive depressive episode.[1] A study involving Brazilian students, as a specimen, revealed that a six-week meditation course significantly reduced depression and anxiety symptoms.[2]

In fact, some researchers have agreed with meditation’s efficacy in treating depression that they propose its use as a primary or supplementary treatment in clinical settings. Dr. Schwartz emphasizes, “There is a strong consensus within the fields of neuroscience and psychology that meditation and meditative practices hold the potential to reshape brain physiology.”

Meditation as a Complementary Component of Treatment

It’s important to recognize that adopting a meditation practice should complement, not replace existing medications or therapies you are undergoing for depression.

Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, MD, the medical director of the Cheng-Tsui Integrated Health Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, advises, “Meditation, exclusively mindfulness meditation, has demonstrated its efficacy in treating depression. However, it should be integrated into conventional medical care under the guidance of a healthcare provider, rather than serving as a substitute for established medical treatments.”

Let’s hunt some of the well-researched meditation techniques that can be particularly beneficial for individuals battling depression:

  1. Mindfulness Meditation Often regarded as the foundation of all meditation practices, mindfulness meditation brags robust scientific backing. Dr. Nerurkar explains, “Mindfulness meditation explains moment-to-moment awareness of the present. It employs your breath as an anchor, frequently redirecting your focus to the present moment, facilitating cognitive retraining.” Research indicates that mindfulness meditation can dismiss depression, anxiety, and stress levels.
  2. Loving-kindness Meditation Loving-kindness Meditation centers on ploughing feelings of love and kindness toward both oneself and others. Innumerable studies highlight its potential to cut down depression, foster a more optimistic outlook, mitigate negative emotions, and enhance compassion. This method may also help quell self-criticism, a common underlying factor in various mental health conditions.[3]
  3. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) A fusion of mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), MBCT seeks to modify devastating thought and behavior patterns. CBT stands as one of the most extensively utilized therapies for depression. MBCT initially aimed to prevent relapses in individuals with recurrent depression but has since shown promise in aiding those with active depression. [4]
  4. Breath Awareness Meditation Breath awareness serves as a vital component of numerous meditation styles, especially mindfulness meditation. Devoting as little as 15 minutes daily to focusing on your breath can yield mood-improving benefits by reducing emotional reactivity.
  5. Transcendental Meditation (TM) Transcendental meditation employs sounds or personal mantras as anchors instead of focusing on the breath. Research highlights that it can alleviate stress, depression, and burnout, with the benefits enduring for months.[5]
  6. Walking Meditation Merging aerobic walking with Buddhist meditation can lead to dimmish depression and enhance flexibility and balance. Incorporating meditation before or after walking, even for brief periods, has been shown to lower anxiety levels.[6]
  7. Body Scan Meditation involves sequentially focusing on different body parts while concurrently practicing deep inhalation and exhalation. This technique has been linked to enhanced self-observation, reduced stress reactions, and fewer depression relapses.[7]
  8. Yoga is a combination of physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, demonstrating potential benefits for depression and anxiety. Exclusive forms of yoga, such as Kundalini yoga, have shown promise in addressing obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression while performing alongside cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  9. Repetitive Activity Engaging in repetitive activities, like mindful dishwashing, can induce a calmer mental state akin to meditation. These activities require minimal cognitive effort and help quiet the mind, similar to the effects of physical exercise.[8]
  10. Visualization and Chanting Visualization and chanting are practiced and employed in many meditation traditions to focus the mind. Chanting and other active meditative practices have been found to activate brain regions associated with mood regulation and emotional control.

In summary, meditation, an age-old practice, holds enormous promise as a tool to combat depression and anxiety. Nevertheless, it should be seen as a complementary component of conventional treatment, working in synergy with established medical practices. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating meditation into your regimen, especially if you’re currently receiving medical treatment.



At Medical World Info, we exclusively rely on renowned sources, such as peer-reviewed research, to substantiate the information presented in our articles.

  1. Jain FA, Walsh RN, Eisendrath SJ, Christensen S, Rael Cahn B. An in-depth evaluation of the effectiveness of meditation therapies for managing depressive disorders during acute and subacute phases: A comprehensive systematic review. Psychosomatics. 2015 Mar-Apr;56(2):140-52. doi:10.1016/j.psym.2014.10.007
  2. Carpena MX, Tavares PS, Menezes CB. Investigating the impact of a six-week focused meditation training on symptoms of depression and anxiety in Brazilian university students, with follow-up assessments at 6 and 12 months. J Affect Disord. 2019 Mar 1;246:401-407. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.12.126
  3. Shahar B, Szsepsenwol O, Zilcha-Mano S, Haim N, Zamir O, Levi-Yeshuvi S, Levit-Binnun N. A randomized controlled trial examining the effects of a loving-kindness meditation program on self-criticism. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2015 Jul-Aug;22(4):346-56. doi:10.1002/cpp.1893
  4. Wong SYS, Sun YY, Chan ATY, et al. Treatment of subthreshold depression in primary care: A randomized controlled trial comparing behavioral activation with mindfulness. The Annals of Family Medicine. 2018;16(2):111-119. doi:10.1370/afm.2206
  5. Elder C, Nidich S, Moriarty F, Nidich R. Assessing the impact of transcendental meditation on employee stress, depression, and burnout: A randomized controlled study. Perm J. 2014 Winter;18(1):19-23. doi:10.7812/TPP/13-102
  6. Edwards MK, Rosenbaum S, Loprinzi PD. Differential Effects of a Brief Bout of Walking, Meditation, or a Combination of Both on State Anxiety Among Young Adults: An Experimental Study. Am J Health Promot. 2018 May;32(4):949-958. doi:10.1177/0890117117744913
  7. Weber B, Sala L, Gex-Fabry M, Docteur A, Gorwood P, Cordera P, Bondolfi G, Jermann F, Aubry JM, Mirabel-Sarron C. Self-Reported Long-Term Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Patients with Bipolar Disorder. J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Jul;23(7):534-540. doi:10.1089/acm.2016.0427

Hanley, A.W., Warner, A.R., Dehili, V.M. et al. Using Dishwashing as a Mindful Practice: Brief Guidance in an Informal Mindfulness Exercise. Mindfulness 6, 1095–1103 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0360-9