Your mind is your instrument. Learn to be its master and not its slave.”
Meditation – the practice of connecting to ones inner self ? has existed ever since history was first written. The practice of meditation is constantly mentioned in our scriptures in its various versions and practices. The growing awareness of the various benefits of meditation has not been overlooked by those providing mental health treatments.
Treatment of any mental health disorder essentially demands self-realization of the problem with one’s thinking process. Meditation is commonly used and practiced as part of complementary medicine to help cure almost all kinds of mental health disorders. These include Anxiety Disorders, Binge-Eating, Depression, Addictions and Bi-polar Disorders. This is because meditation helps one to become conscious of one’s thoughts and beliefs, to accept the present without being too judgmental about it and to be able to gradually control the thinking process. The effectiveness of regular meditation is supported by many researches and clinical trials.
The proven results and benefits of meditation has led Sovereign Health of California to incorporate its practice into all our treatment therapies.
Each mental health disorder requires a different form of meditation. At Sovereigh Health of California, we have a team of experts who specialize in the practice of these different forms of meditation ? specialists, who will help and guide patients throughout the sessions.
The most significant benefit of meditation is stress-reduction. A significant reduction in stress levels leads to an improvement in the overall outcome of treatment. Reduction in stress levels also provides significant health benefits such as reduction in the symptoms of hypertension, reduced allergies and an overall boost to the immune system.
There are various forms of meditation. Each form has its own technique and unique benefit. It is extremely important to follow the right form of meditation, in the right manner, for the correct treatment of any disorder.
The most common forms of meditation include:
Guided Imagery: This form of meditation requires individuals to imagine scenes, or situations which they find relaxing and positive. One is asked to experience the sight, smell and feeling of the image or scene. This is practiced under the supervision of one of our experts.
Mantra meditation: As the name indicates, this involves the repetition of a word or ‘mantra’ which helps one to disconnect from the outside world and gradually focus on the ‘mantra’ and the inner-self.
Mindfulness Meditation: This form of meditation allows one to focus on the present and one’s own thoughts and beliefs. One focuses on the flow of breath, as well as the thoughts and emotions that cross the mind. The practice allows one to increasingly live in the present whilst accepting thoughts and emotions without being too judgmental about them.
Yoga: Different postures, along with controlled breathing, are practiced with the aim of focusing on oneself and improving overall physical well-being.
Transcendental Meditation: This is the art of silently focusing on a word or mantra to gradually eliminate all the other thoughts from one’s mind. The purpose is to forget the surroundings, the thoughts and just focus on the word or the mantra.
Tai Chi: This involves the slow practice of a series of postures and movements, together with controlled breathing.
Qi Gong: This is the traditional Chinese practice of different physical postures along with controlled breathing movements.
Each mental health disorder is treated using a different form of meditation. Yoga and meditation constitute the basic elements of MBSR ? Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction practice. The MBSR was first introduced at the University of Massachusetts and is a proven practice which significantly reduces the clinical signs and symptoms of the majority of Mental Health Disorders.
Anxiety Disorder: The increased levels of anxiety and stress lead to an excessive production of the hormone adrenaline in the body. This hormone leads to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, as well as increased levels of stress. Yogic Nidra is a form of meditation which allows a deep sense of relaxation, through guided instructions by a teacher. The art enables one to concentrate on the inner self, without going to sleep and to focus and drive the mind according to the instructions of the guide. The deep sense of relaxation reduces anxiety levels which in turn helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety and the inclination to turn to drugs or alcohol. With regular sessions, there is also a noted reduction in the symptoms of pain and other chronic illnesses.
Depression: Depression is often caused by an imbalance between the reality of the situation and its perception by an individual. Many traumatic incidents, situations or even hormonal imbalances can lead to depression. Meditation helps in rectifying this imbalance by helping an individual achieve a better understanding and control of his or her thoughts. Imagery meditation also helps in the production of hormones such as adrenaline which are produced during exercise. These hormones help in mood elevation and reduction in depressive symptoms.
Addiction: A heightened state of self satisfaction, reduced anxiety and increased self -esteem are attained with meditation. Together, these help to relieve cravings and reduce the dependence on drugs and alcohol. A long-term reduction in the rate of relapse has been observed with regular Transcendental meditation therapy.
Binge-Eating Disorder: Meditation based interventions have proven to be an effective tool in the treatment of binge eating disorders. Many exploratory researches have confirmed that meditation leads to an increased sense of self-awareness and self-perception amongst subjects. This leads to an increased sense of awareness of the feeling of satiety and the amount of food intake. Those regularly practicing meditation also feel less anxious and more confident about their body forms. All these factors together contribute to a reduction in the frequency of binge-eating episodes amongst patients.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Heightened levels of anxiety, stress, panic attacks and depression are often experienced by victims following a traumatic incident. The memory of the incident can repeatedly generate these emotions in individuals which can then, potentially, develop into alcoholism or drug abuse. Mindfulness meditation sessions let individuals recollect the memories and experience of the incident and eventually gain control over the reactions generated by it. Transcendental meditation and Mantra Chanting enable subjects to analyze and rethink the trauma in a more detached and calmer state of mind. These sessions gradually let subjects recover from the heightened anxiety and stress experienced due to the memory of those events.
Bi-polar Disorder & Schizophrenia: The reduced state of arousal and anxiety resulting from regular yoga sessions has been observed to help those with Bi-polar and Schizophrenia. A calmer mind and increased control over one’s emotions help to reduce the symptoms of both disorders.