In this day and age, there seems to be a pill for everything. Not only are people running to their doctors for relief, the providers themselves are over-prescribing, patients are misusing their prescriptions, and often times, they become addicted to their medication.
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common disorders, which are treated by a variety of medications- some addictive, some not. Although antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills can be helpful, they don’t solve the biggest problem- the root cause of the discomfort.
Researchers and a growing number health care professionals are encouraging patients to practice meditation in addition to their medical treatment and therapy. Although many disorders are a chemical imbalance, most don’t consider how meditation can help re-wire their brain.
What if treatment facilities and doctors prescribed more meditation, and less medication?
I’ve had anxiety throughout my life, which is something I’ve never been treated for. My social anxiety was so terrible growing up that it caused me to eat lunch in the library when I didn’t know who to sit with, skip classes or school events, and, as soon as I began college, I started drinking heavily to self medicate. I may not have taken pills to relieve my discomfort, but I drank my worries away so I wasn’t aware of my surroundings.
I eventually went to therapy and tried antidepressants to keep my depression in check. I didn’t take the medicine long enough to know whether or not it helped me- life situations had improved and I was abstinent from alcohol- but I also added something else to my life:
Mindfulness and meditation.
Between therapy, group support, and meditation, my anxiety and depression have been alleviated. I learned that spending more time inward was the solution to my issues. Through meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, spending time in nature, and staying active, I haven’t had to take a pill or pick up a drink.
If you break down depression and anxiety, it’s quite simple:
Depression is living in the past, and anxiety is living in the future.
Living in the present is being happy.
Whether you choose to medicate or not, please consider adding meditation to your daily routine. There are many apps that can get you started if you’re a newbie to the practice, such as Calm and Headspace, and even a variety of YouTube videos to guide you along your way. Meditation has changed my life, and I know it can change yours, too. 💫