Loving Kindness is one of my favourites. It has been proven to increase activity in the brain associated with happiness. Below is a chart from my Heart Rate Variability monitor where are started "LovingKindness" or "Metta" Meditation at the 1-min mark. It immediately increased my HRV amplitude, indicating increased parasympathetic activity.
Here is a great little audio called "Loving kindness on the go." You can and should do it all though the day. Anyone you see in a store, etc.
Another great meditation is "Insight Meditation"or Mindfulness Meditation, where the goal is to simply learn to watch the patterns of the mind, so you can catch yourself spiralling into anger or any other negative state.
Over time, positive emotions occur more and more and neagtive emotions occur less and less. When negative emotions ooccur, you notice them quickly...and once you indentify it, you separate yourself from the emotion and it just fades away.
"HOWEVER, it caused crazy brain fog! And also, it caused me to have depressed thoughts constantly. Meditation definitely made me very depressed. It affected me cognitively and emotionally for the worse."
What you experienced was spiritual growth that accompanies meditation. When we start our meditation journey our bodies are not used to us as spirit taking control and they often rebel. Your body took over and convinced you that it was a better one to control your life - and you as spirit gave in.
You are the one who created the depressed thoughts - not meditation. If you don't like your depressed thoughts - let them go, don't keep repeating what has made you miserable. Regardless of what you experienced you are still responsible for your own reality - and everything in it that has ever happened to it.
Meditating is like physical exercise - on a spiritual level. You are toning your spiritual muscles for more in depth insight into who you are and what you are here to do. You can and will hit blocks as you did and you can continue to meditate and move through the blocks, or you can give up. I've hit things that there is no way I wanted to look at (mainly blaming others for my "problems") them a few years or even months ago, but if you allow spirit to simply release the garbage and get you through it the love, joy, and physical exhilaration is beyond description.
Everyone of us has hate, anger, pain (oh that pain) as well as joy and peace within us. Gandhi said: "The only devil there is is the one that is in each and everyone of us and that is where we should fight him."
You are learning about yourself and all that's buried within you. God loves you and all of your creations - take a chance and learn to love yourself with all of your faults and your good stuff too and you will be richly rewarded.
"You have no idea about all the people out there that have a biological cause of brain inflammation that meditation won't be enough to help with. Depression is a biological state of brain inflammation."
There is no proof to support that statement. You also neglect the fact that meditation can and does reverse depression, anxiety, and a host of other things.
I've practiced meditation for more than 30 years, an hour or more per day. I've eliminated clinical depression, PTSD from both childhood, combat, and another disaster, and found a much richer and rewarding life in the process. There is no study or advice anywhere that meditation causes depression.
There are many, many forms of meditation. I use a type where you are in a normal sitting position with feet flat on the floor and activate my earth energies, chakras, and kundalini. I don't practice either TM or yoga meditation. Get in touch with yourself as the spiritual entity that you are, and you can achieve a lot, including curing depression, bipolar, and everyday tensions and "problems." (There is no such thing as a problem, only a perception of a problem.)
Rewiring Your Brain through Mindfulness
If brain chemistry can affect thoughts and behaviors, can thoughts and behaviors affect brain chemistry and perhaps even rewire the brain?
An accumulating body of evidence supports the notion that non-medical interventions – especially mindfulness – can create changes in the body and brain that help reduce distress and improve brain function in a variety of ways.
Some of the most interesting projects have explored the use of mindfulness practices to reduce stress and depression and improve attention. Several fascinating studies have explored the minds of “experts” in meditation – a form of mindfulness – and clearly show they have strong neuro-circuitry in areas of emotional regulation and feelings of compassion.
A recent study in the journal Neuroimage entitled “Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Training on Intrinsic Brain Connectivity” (Kilpatrick et al., 2011 Feb 17) involved a group of healthy women who were trained for eight weeks in mindfulness meditation skills compared to a group that did not participate in the training. Functional MRI studies at the end of the eight weeks showed “increased functional connectivity” between various areas of the brain in the women who studied mindfulness. The training changed the brain in ways thought to relate to how the brain pays attention and how it processes sensory information.
Some studies have examined the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) that have similarly suggested brain changes that occur in response to therapy and are related to improving symptoms.
Our feelings and behaviors are the results of complex and constantly evolving interactions of our genetic patterns and the environment acting on those patterns. The environment includes all things that affect us – physical and social/emotional stresses are all part of the story. What we need to keep in mind is that the environmental effects on our systems are just as “biological” as any medication or surgical procedure, and they may affect the brain in positive ways as well as negative.
Nurture is nature; our biological makeup evolves as we interact with the world around us. So the work of helping ourselves feel better involves looking at all the possible ways of creating beneficial changes in the nervous system – from medicine to food to exercise to light to various types of therapies and practices such as mindfulness and beyond.
Come back on Thursday to read guest blogger Shamash Alidina’s post, “Using Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder.” Shamash Alidina is author of Mindfulness For Dummies.”
If you’ve had any sort of mindfulness training, please share your experiences and insights.
Also on Psych Central, ”How to Be Mindful and Have More Positivity,” by Joe Wilner.
If Stressed, Try Meditating: Psychiatrist
If you’re stressed, meditate, says a world-renowned psychiatrist.
“Your nervous system is constantly being assaulted all day long -- stresses from within, from other people, obstacles occur. When you meditate regularly, you don’t get bent out of shape so easily,” says Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical.
"Often times when we snap at people, we’re under stress,” he says.
This can be especially true for those living in large cities like New York City.
“Getting to work, getting to the bus, the deadlines that you have to make, and the hours that you have to work – these are constant stresses stressing us and if we don’t have a quiet place to go and a special technique that enables us to settle down our bodies and our minds, then we don’t have protection against the frequent batterings to our nervous system – that have consequences,” Rosenthal says.
The technique that the former 20-year National Institute of Mental Health senior researcher recommends is transcendental meditation, which uses a mantra taught in a specific, effortless way.
But "any meditation is better than none," he says......
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