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Any advice on meditation for depression and stress?

I do zen meditation, just concentrating on my breath. I just started meditating regularly again about 2 weeks ago. I’m dealing with severe depression and anxiety, and I realize that meditation is the only way to really change myself from within. But, it’s very difficult to sit still usually, because I have so much on my mind and have a hard time facing my pain.


  1. Yes, I understand. When you try to clear your mind, thoughts start to enter, and then you’re dealing with a jumble of disjointed thoughts, overlapping, disturbing, and negative. Right?
    Have you tried positive affirmations, instead of meditation? This helps me more than anything. I have a written list of my favorite positive affirmations, and I read them at the beginning of each day. I repeat them as necessary throughout the day. Often it seems that if I expect negative things that’s what I’ll get, and if I expect positive things, they’ll come.
    There’s a ton of books out there, and also lots of positive thinking websites and sources for positive affirmations.
    Why don’t you try it? What do you have to lose? It’s not going to cost you anything to try to focus on a positive mindset. Can’t hurt anything, and you can use it as part of your meditation.
    good luck..
    Good luck.

  2. Your mind needs a rest from the thoughts causing you depression and anxiety. A hypnotist taught me the following, to do after your deep breathing:
    Repeat 5 times to yourself as you are visualizing and feeling the following:
    – my arms and legs are warm and heavy (5X)
    – my heartbeat is slow and steady (5X)
    – my solar plexus is warm like the sun and radiates up and down my body and into my extremities. (5X)
    – my cares exit out the top of my head and go up into the clouds, where they turn into raindrops, then fall to quench the flowers. (5X)
    – a cool breeze blows across my forehead. (5X)
    You must picture each exercise in your mind. If you do these 5 exercises 5 times each, you will rest and relieve your mind and body. Once you feel better from these, look into finding positive affirmations for yourself and say them regularly. ie “I am a precious person.”
    There are books out there re 5 minute meditations. Look through the books and pick out the meditations that most appeal to you and your mindset. The ones I listed above are pretty standard, although you may find variations.
    Blessings and Bliss! – Bunny

  3. By forsaking yourself through seeking you’re becoming depressed.
    If you’re using meditation to alter your state of mind….. that is seeking.
    Stop running from what you are already to find something better.
    What you are is the here and now.

  4. concentration on your breath is Samatha meditation. This kind of meditation makes u calm down. It can help you just only a period of time. If you stop practice your confusing mind will recover again. If you try to sit in order to meditate, your mind will be forced so you cannot get the good result. Now you need to be relax first. You have to leave your problem and the cause of anxiety and isolate yourself in the place that soothes you(wherever you feel peaceful and fresh) It can be your favorite conner in your house. Then try to be relax before meditation. At the beginning, do not sit so long but increase the time later next meditation. If you feel uncomfortable stop for a while to make your body relaxed. If you can sit around one hour, you will discover the peace of mind during the day.

  5. You might benefit from a more “active” technique like chanting to help control the “monkey mind” phenomena which is more acute with severe depression and anxiety.
    Meditation is simply learning to live in the moment, when nothing distracts you and when you are not tied to the past or anxious about the future. In meditation you become peacefully aware of your real self. The more you use it, the more aware you become. When you learn to live life for each moment, to enjoy and appreciate life to the fullest at that moment, you suddenly become impervious to the myraid of doubts and fears that you’ve lived with all your life.
    While there are many folks that seem to believe their particular mantra has “magical power”, it really is the mindfulness that matters. The mantra is just one of the vehicles you can use to get there.
    I developed a simple nonsectarian practice, but my background is in Buddhism – specifically Jodo Shinshu (aka Shin) Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism, and the nonsectarian teachings of the Bright Dawn Institute (aka Kubose Dharma Legacy).
    Here is the simple, yet potent, meditation technique that I use with some recommended resources as well. Specific posture does not matter. If you are uncomfortable sitting on the floor, you can sit on a chair with feet flat on the floor.
    Since I have medical issues, I do a simple form of secular mindfulness meditation to relieve stress and anxiety. This helps to reduce high blood pressure and the frequency of headaches. It is a practice recommended by my primary licensed physician and is not encumbered by any superstitious nonsense.
    I have actually studied a wide variety of religions and paths. Being more musically inclined, I was initially attracted to the practices of Jodo Shinshu (aka Shin Buddhism) and Nichiren Buddhism – with the combination of chanting a rhythmic phrase (Nembutsu or Odaimoku) and/or sutra recitation to a visual object (a scroll of Amida or a Gohonzon). This is a more active form of meditation as compared to the silent form (see below for that). So I decided to create a nonsectarian alternative in that vein. One practice that I find helpful in the vein of the Way of Oneness (the realization of interdependence) is to chant “Be One, Be Peace” in a position of gassho (palms together in front of chest with fingers pointing upward – a traditional gesture of respect) to an object such as a Dharma Wheel or a drawing of enso (a circle) as used in Zen. Five minutes of this every morning before work does wonders for my blood pressure and stress level.
    You are more than welcome to use the chant if you think you may find it possibly useful.
    I use two forms: “Be One. Be Peace.” for those who prefer a four syllable “mantra” like “Namandabu.” Or “Be One. Be Love. Be Peace.” for those who prefer the pace of a six syllable “mantra” like “Nam(u) Myo-ho Ren-Ge Kyo” or “Na-Mu A-Mi-da Butsu.” People who like (or are drawn) to chant are attracted to the rhythm.
    For me, the purpose of any practice is to encourage self-reflection, internalizing this awareness , and wonder/gratitude/awareness of the interdependent forces of the Universe (Dharmakaya – in Shin this is symbolized as Amida Buddha which allows practitioners to perceive these forces as “compassionate” and “caring” thus allowing us to relate to them easier, or as the Gohonzon in Nichiren Buddhism which is a calligraphic representation of the “Ceremony in the Air” from the Lotus Sutra which is also a representation of the interdependent forces of the Universe).
    There are a couple of simple techniques for silent meditation as well. You do not have to sit on the floor. You can sit with erect back on a chair. Many people say try for 15 minutes twice a day. I say start with a simpler goal – 5 minutes twice per day. The benefits include stress management and relaxation benefits which help the body, increased mindfulness and focus, and increased energy. The mindfulness can be a benefit to your spiritual life, but meditation also has “non-spiritual” benefits. Here are two easy techniques:
    Breathing meditation – 1) Check posture. 2) Close your eyes and relax. 3) Focus on your breath entering and leaving your body. 4) Count breaths mentally one to four. Repeat. 5) Don’t fight a wandering mind, but calmly direct it back to task. 6) Sit for a minute afterwards.
    “Mantra” technique (choose a personal “calm” word or phrase that you will repeat in your meditation – it can be from your religion or something as simple as “one” or “calm” — I use the nonsectarian “Be One. Be Peace” or “Be One. Be Love. Be Peace.”) – 1) and 2) as above in the Breathing meditation. 3) Listen to your breathing and let it relax you with each breath. 4) Once you are relaxed, mentally “hear” your “calm” word or phrase in your mind. Let it repeat in your mind. 5) Don’t fight a wandering mind, but calmly direct it back to task. 6) Sit for a minute afterwards.
    That is all there is to these very simple but beneficial meditation techniques. Many people think that something “mystical” should happen during meditation. Most often “nothing” happens and “nothing” should be expected.
    Oh yes, and it didn’t cost me anything to learn nor were there any “initiations” involved.
    Some good resources on “secular” meditation are “The Calm Technique” by Paul Wilson as well as “The Relaxation Response” by Herbert Benson. If you need more formal “assistance” or “training” then I would look into Natural Stress Relief which was founded by former Transcendental Meditation instructors upset at the rising cost and ongoing superstition associated with TM. They charge $47 for their training compared with the $2,500 that TM would charge you.
    Also look at these websites on Buddhism on the nonsectarian Bright Dawn teachings which have a heritage of Shin and Zen Buddhism:
    I hope this is helpful!

  6. 2nd edit:
    In my opinion, meditation is a fascinating journey to embark on. If you practise meditation long-term, it can help you learn about your emotions and how to cope with them better. But it is not the answer for treating moderate or severe depession… depression is a serious health problem that needs to be dealt with by a doctor.
    For people who have depression or other mental health conditions, meditation can bring up issues that a person may not be ready to deal with at that time without any support… i’d advise you to seek help with the depression because severe depression does not usually go away on its own without treatment, and treatment is highly successful these days… and you can always carry on pracitsing meditation at the same time.
    May i suggest that mindfulness meditation may be easier for you… i find it is better for dealing with agitation… i used to get so agitated when sitting to meditate that i then had to go out for a run, instead, to burn off the excess energy… but i found that with mindfulness, any agitation that you encounter, or any other negative emotions, can be used as part of the meditation and can be learnt from… with mindfulness, you acknowledge and accept anything that comes up, and allow it to run its course, without encouraging it or judging it as ‘bad’ or ‘good’… i find that with this technique the emotions, run out of steam and diminish…
    i deleted my original extra-long answer because i decided i was ranting too much… if you’d like me to email you it to you or you’d like to ask me anything else about my experience of depression & meditation, then just give me an email from my profile page and i’ll be happy to help in any way i can.
    All the best,


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