Can meditation help alleviate mental health conditions?

Meditation is a well-established way to help manage common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

“When guided by those with appropriate psychological training, meditation can help people to interact in a more helpful manner with difficult thoughts and feelings,” says Ms Joyce.

“Many people choose to incorporate meditation as part of an overall strategy for managing their mental health. While drug therapies certainly have their place, some commonly prescribed medications can have side effects, issues with long-term use and limited effectiveness when treating those with mild to moderate conditions.

“A good long-term strategy can involve a regular meditation practice, making use of psychological therapy (i.e. Medicare rebated sessions with a qualified Psychologist) and paying attention to sleep quality, diet and exercise.”

Physiological effects of meditation

There are numerous physiological benefits from practising meditation.

“Meditation can bring the brain into a restful, restorative state. During meditation, levels of the stress chemical cortisone can drop, and individuals may experience other physiological changes such as reduced blood pressure,” said Ms Joyce.

“Those who regularly practise meditation may experience a wide range of benefits, from stress reduction, to improved attention and pain relief. Meditation can also allow us to develop meta-awareness, so that we recognise when we are getting caught up in difficult thoughts and emotions. This can help us to respond in a less reactive way to stressful events.”