By Emily OstermanEmily Ostermeno, ContributorA few years ago, a friend told me about a yoga instructor in her community who said that if she did not do yoga, she would be depressed.
It didn’t surprise me that someone who has experienced depression herself would be skeptical.
I was also skeptical that she had actually experienced it herself, as she had been on meds for years.
My skepticism was understandable: depression is a common, often untreated, anxiety disorder.
Depression is also a serious mental illness that is often accompanied by a range of debilitating medical conditions.
But even with these caveats, it seemed like a promising hypothesis.
What if mindfulness meditation could help alleviate depression?
I knew that mindfulness meditation is a practice that helps focus attention on a single object while you meditate.
The practice of mindfulness meditation has been practiced for millennia, including by the Buddha himself.
Its origins date back to the ancient Chinese sage Ch’an, whose teachings were closely linked to the Chinese practice of Zen Buddhism.
I was intrigued.
In the last years of his life, Buddhism’s founder, Yung Hsiao-ping, was also a proponent of mindfulness, and in a recent TED talk, he explained that meditation helps people to feel the “emotional energy of a person or a place” in order to be able to feel “more confident in ourselves.”
In a 2015 book called Zen Buddhism and the Art of Loving-Kindness, Buddhist scholar and professor of Chinese and East Asian studies Liao Ling describes mindfulness as “a Buddhist practice based on the notion that we all have feelings, thoughts, and emotions that we need to be aware of and meditate on.”
While meditation is not a practice based entirely on the Buddhist practice of the Zen tradition, Liao Ling does describe it as one that uses mindfulness.
One of the most important things we can do with mindfulness is meditate for a few minutes every day, she says.
While I am not the first to question the scientific validity of mindfulness studies, I had already made up my mind about this particular meditation practice.
As a doctor and an educator, I have seen that mindfulness practice can help with depression.
I had a group of students in a mindfulness class, and we were able to use this mindfulness practice to help us overcome our depressive symptoms.
The next day, I attended a mindfulness meditation workshop for my students.
I realized that I could have benefited from a similar meditation practice for myself, so I took advantage of the opportunity to do a mindfulness practice on my own.
I wanted to see if the mindfulness practice would help me to get better at my job.
What if meditation and mindfulness meditation were a little easier than yoga and mathematics?
I started by practicing the meditation of mindfulness for just a few seconds at a time, for a couple of minutes at a later time, and then stopped.
I practiced again the next day.
In each of these two phases, I did not think about the goal of the meditation, nor did I think about anything else.
I just did what I felt I needed to do in order for my mind to stay focused and relaxed.
After three weeks of practicing mindfulness, my depression symptoms improved.
The only thing that kept me going was the feeling of being grounded.
For a week after I finished my mindfulness practice, I went back to my normal work, but I felt much more relaxed.
I have also noticed that it helps me to become more productive, which I attribute to the practice.
If I am more aware of my thoughts, I know how to address them more effectively.
It is worth noting that mindfulness and meditation are very different practices.
Both practices involve paying attention to the breath and focusing on a specific object, and both meditation and yoga are about taking in breath, which is something that happens in a state of mind called “non-attachment.”
The practice of yoga is more focused on the breath.
Yoga teaches that there are no “means of escape” in yoga, so the goal is to keep going with the practice and to focus on the feeling that arises from this practice.
As a teacher of mindfulness and yoga, I am very familiar with this process of non-attaching.
I know that this process is often misunderstood, and I would like to dispel any misconceptions that yoga practitioners may have.
A recent study found that mindfulness has a positive effect on mental health.
Studies have shown that people who have experienced depression have more positive feelings about their mental health and experience better overall mental health outcomes.
This is not to say that mindfulness practices are a cure for depression, but they may be a helpful way for people to improve their mental well-being.
I am happy to share this experience with you today, as I hope it will help you find some ways to make your day better.
Sincerely,Emily O.S. Bodhi is a