How Mindful Meditation Can Improve Your Mood

Anxiety, DepressionJodie TatlockComment

Mindful meditation practice began as a traditional Buddhist practice and is now recognized by psychotherapists as a form of cognitive behavioural therapy. It differs from most behavioural therapies in that it focuses on the experience of the present moment.

Mindfulness based meditation is the practice of bringing a non-judgemental awareness to your current experience. Mindfulness allows us to pay attention to what arises emotionally, physically and cognitively from our experience and provides a non-judgemental space for us to sit with it.

Mindfulness engages six different brain functions that contribute to the meditative state of self-awareness: Attention Regulation, Intention and Motivation, Non-Attachment and Decentering (letting go of the ego), Extinction and Reconsolidation (changing behaviors and attitudes), Emotional Regulation and Pro Social Behaviour (an increase in empathy for others.) 

"The impact meditation has on emotional regulation is an aspect I find particularly therapeutic in patients with mood disorders (i.e anxiety and depression)."

The impact meditation has on emotional regulation is an aspect I find particularly therapeutic in patients with mood disorders (i.e anxiety and depression). Emotional regulation is defined as a person’s ability to respond to emotional experience effectively. It is a series of conscious and unconscious strategies we use to either increase, decrease or maintain different components of our emotional experience. Maladaptive emotional regulation has been shown to be a pathological component of various mental health disorders. Studies show that meditation improves emotional regulation and therefore has an impact on improving symptoms of anxiety and depression. Meditation has also been found to increase well-being, decrease stress, decrease negative emotions, decrease symptoms of anxiety and improve one's quality of life! 

 There is no right or wrong way to meditate but it can feel tricky at first. If you are interested in learning more feel free to contact me or comment below to share your experience/favourite technique. A simple way to start living more in the moment is to check in with your breath. We so often hold our breath and don’t realize that it is causing us to feel dizzy, anxious, or even dissociated from our body. Check in and count to 5 as you breathe in, and then release it in 5. You will feel the instant benefit of becoming more mindful of your body.

In health and light, namaste,