Even the people who are somewhat skeptical of the direct medical benefits of meditation will usually acknowledge that meditation can help people feel better psychologically. Many therapists will recommend meditation to their patients specifically. People with anxiety disorders in particular will usually be told that they should start practicing meditation if they’re interested in getting themselves back to a more restful state of mind. Meditation can already work wonders for the people without anxiety disorders, quieting their minds in the process. It stands to reason that it can work wonders for the people who have a particularly difficult time getting their minds to rest.
Anxiety disorders are fairly broad in terms of their implications and their exact symptoms. Post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are both anxiety disorders. Some people actually have both of them at once, and some people have one or the other. The effects of both of these anxiety disorders are very different, and yet they both belong to the same category of psychological disorders. Meditation will be able to help the people who are suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it will manage to help the people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Meditation has also shown to be effective at treating depression. Depression and anxiety disorders often go hand in hand, but clinical depression and anxiety disorders are very different from a chemical perspective. It can be difficult for depressed people to motivate themselves to complete almost any task, since one of the symptoms of depression in the first place is the feeling of listlessness. While people can often feel better after aerobic exercise, even if they’re depressed, motivating oneself to complete aerobic exercise even during the throes of depression is challenging at best.
Meditation may not be easy, but it does have the advantage of being something that people can perform in a seated position while they are being quiet and motionless. Many of the people who are suffering from anxiety disorders will feel anxious under a wide variety of different circumstances, especially if they have anxiety that’s connected with their specific surroundings. People with depression will often have a difficult time motivating themselves to even get out of bed. Technically, people can meditate while they’re still in bed or before they even get out of their pajamas.
There is plenty of skill involved with meditation, but the skills that people will need are all emotional and they are all internal. Many people who have anxiety disorders and depression more or less need to learn how to modify their thought processes, whether they do it through medication or through therapy. Meditation can certainly help people modify their thought processes, which is why it has so many implications when it comes to treating the psychological conditions that have plagued society for the longest time.
A lot of the people who meditate do it for religious reasons, especially if they are affiliated with religions from the Far East. Meditation is a crucial component of many different branches of Buddhism, for one thing. Some branches of Buddhism contend that people need to be able to meditate in order to truly release themselves from suffering. The people who practice meditation for these reasons are certainly going to be able to get all of the physical and medical benefits of meditation in the process, but they will get an additional set of personal benefits as well.
However, many people today do not see meditation as a purely spiritual practice. Plenty of people who consider themselves secularists or even atheists will still practice meditation for the sake of the health and medical benefits. There is nothing inherently religious about meditation, even though it is a key component of many of the oldest and most widely-practiced faiths. People shouldn’t be scared away from meditation because they’re under the impression that they are going to have to convert to any faith in order to practice it for themselves.
Naturally, many of the people who do practice meditation tow the line between viewing it as a purely spiritual practice and viewing it in a more secular light. Some people consider themselves spiritual but not especially religious, and they may specifically try to awaken their spiritual sides as a result of their meditative practices. Meditation can create very powerful emotional experiences, so it is not surprising that many people can view meditation as spiritual in its own right, regardless of whether or not it is directly connected to any sort of established, organized religion.
Many people all around the world today are more or less pursuing their own, private brands of spirituality. While lots of people still belong to more organized faiths, it has become more socially acceptable to pursue one’s own unique path to a greater extent. Many spiritual people are trying to find activities or experiences that make them feel connected to forces that are larger than themselves. For these people, trying meditation is often the first step forward on their own unique personal journeys.
Meditation certainly provides a very unique emotional experience. Being able to separate oneself from the chaos of one’s normal thoughts can make all the difference in terms of one’s ability to perceive other things. Many people will believe that they are literally experiencing something on a higher plane of reality as a result. Other people may believe that they are becoming connected with a spirit world of some sort. Some individuals will turn their spiritual focus inward somewhat, believing that they are connecting with their own souls to a much greater extent than they otherwise would.
One way or another, the emotional contexts that meditation creates can be so powerful that they will literally feel ‘out of this world’ to many people. Some people will interpret this set of emotions in a more religious context, and other people are going to frame it in more secular terms. A given meditation session is going to ultimately reflect the person who is actually doing the meditating. People from all over the spectrum in terms of religiosity will all be able to benefit from meditation, so meditation will take on multiple forms.