Meditate Not Medicate

Medication is a vital part of modern life. No one is saying that medication should not be used, especially if you have a serious medical issue – your first port of call should always be an appropriate medical professional. That being said, there are lots of conditions which can be helped, or in some cases, wholly treated by more natural means, and if that means that you can avoid the side effects of various drugs, or maybe get better faster by combining drugs and natural treatments, well it makes sense to give it a try, right?

One of the most effective natural methods for treating several issues is undoubtedly meditation. It’s amazing how something seemingly so simple can have such a profound effect on the mind and body, but science is increasingly finding that sitting down with your japa mala beads and chanting, or simply clearing your head and focusing on your breath can have huge medical benefits. Here are just some of the things that you can use meditation to help treat:

Stress

Stress is a modern epidemic, due in no small part to the frantic pace of life that most of us, in the west at least, are expected to keep up with. Mental and physical stress is bad enough, but if they go on for long enough they can cause more serious issues such as depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. The good news is that there is lots of evidence to suggest an 8-week program of mindfulness meditation is enough to significantly lower stress levels without the need for any other interventions.

Anxiety

There are many quite effective anti-anxiety medications, and if you are really struggling it may be a good idea to see your doctor about being prescribed one. However, it is worth noting that most of these drugs have side effects that include drowsiness and addiction amongst other things.  With that in mind, you might want to try a meditation program as they have been shown to lower anxiety levels and keep them low long-term in many studies. Yes, you will not get the immediate relief that medication offers, but you will learn how to live with your intrusive thoughts, acknowledge them, and ultimately not lett hem take over your life which is much better in the long-term. Perhaps, get some medication and use that on those really tough days only, using meditation to keep you well most of the time.

Depression

Depression is another condition that meditation can really help you with, and if you are just feeling blue or have mild depression, it may be all that you need to feel well again. If you are suffering from a more severe depression, you really do need to see a doctor and a therapist, but meditation will be a good way to supplement their help and get you back to where you want to be faster.

The Mindful Way Through Depression is a great book and audio course which teaches you simple practices that will help you to tame your mind and get onto a more even keel. It is, however, much easier to complete this course when you’re feeling well, so don’t beat yourself up if you cannot meditate when you are very ill and bear it in mind for when you feel more able to tackle your mental health head-on.

Attention Issues

If you have problems concentrating before you go to the doctor for medication, it may be worth giving mindfulness meditation a try. Mindfulness meditation teaches you how to concentrate on a single point, such as the breath, and trains your brain to concentrate for longer periods. It definitely won’t work for everyone, but many people, even those with ADHD have found it helpful and it is certainly an avenue worth exploring.

Pain

You might be surprised to know that meditation can even help you to manage your pain levels. In one study, an MRI was used to detect changes in the brain of people who’s pain responses were stimulated. The people who meditated regularly showed more activity in the brain centers that regulated pain than those who did not. Yes, you may still need painkillers but you probably won’t need quite as many as you would without meditation, and that can only be a positive thing for your overall health when you consider just how addictive painkillers can be and how many lives have been ruined by an overdependence on them

 

Meditation is amazing, so give it a try because you have nothing to lose by doing so, just make sure that you consult your doctor about any medical issues you may be experiencing too!

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Jamie Sorenson

Jamie Sorenson is a freelance writer with a Masters in Communications from Quinnipiac. An aspiring screenplay writer, Jamie freelances for many media outlets.

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