Welcome back after Christmas. Hope you All found your preferable way of spending this time. Now we are back to the routine and numbers of Covid cases do not allow us to fully feel comfortable in this New Year. But lets not loose the Spirit. We just keep walking and continue use this time for our advantage.
Today I will talk about meditation that is widely used in psychotherapy and counselling. Believe it or not, in a psychology/psychotherapy field there are dynamics happening like in every field where people are involved. The subjects can become like a fashion for certain color or type of clothe where everyone tries to have it in their wardrobe. The same happens with psychological tools that carried by a way of interest become popularized to general population beyond justified means. Meditation is one of the most common techniques used in psychotherapy. This tool became like a Holy Grail, for many years only positive aspects were studied and published as a remedy for every mental problem, from depression to anxiety, personality disorders etc. However finally something shifted and negative effects have been explored showing that meditation is not for everyone.
‘If it’s useful for your anxiety great, do it. But let’s not ignore the fact that for some people it can actually create anxiety. Let’s not pretend we have the absolute research on this and stop saying that it is good for everybody.’ stated a Hindu monastic yoga and meditation teacher.
A systemic review showed that “The most common negative effects include anxiety (33%, 18), depression (27%, 15) and cognitive anomalies (25%, 14); gastrointestinal problems and suicidal behaviors (both 11%, 6)”. However, multicultural study showed that “they were more frequently reported in relation to individual practice, during focused attention meditation, and when practicing for more than 20 minutes and alone. The practice of body awareness was associated with UEs (unwanted effects) to a lesser extent, whereas focused attention was associated more with UEs.”
In my practise I notice that meditation does not work for everyone. It is important to monitor our reaction to the mind practices. Few tips to be aware when you try to apply it to your life:
– with anxiety too much focusing on your body or breath can actually increase your anxiety. Many studies show that distraction is much more powerful in treating anxiety so you can use distraction techniques such as imagine something else in your mind away from yourself, or start counting something in front of you without engaging in intense focusing on yourself,
– with depression, meditation can pull you down because it strives towards relaxation and calmness. Instead you can use visualization that is characterized by vividness, energy and excitement. You can use it for realistic goals or just for creative effect,
Hope that will give you something to be aware of so your future well being choices will be more likely suited to your needs.