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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Can meditation worsen anxiety and depression? Here is what research says

Enthusiasm for meditation may partly stem from a growing awareness of the side effects of antidepressant medicines.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 17, 2020 2:21:26 pm
Do you meditate on a regular basis? (Photo: Getty)

Whenever we are stressed or agitated, there’s no better feeling than to listen to some calming music and settle down in the favourite corner of the house to meditate. But, do these things really relieve us of stress, or do they make it worse?

According to a report published in the outlet New Scientist, “about one in 12 people who try meditation, experience an unwanted negative effect, usually a worsening in depression or anxiety, or even the onset of these conditions for the first time, according to the first systematic review of the evidence.”

Meditations are of various kinds but the one that is comparatively well known is mindfulness. Mindfulness mainly includes simply focusing on the present moments, the thoughts and feelings you have at the moment. While this seems like a good idea to get your dose of daily optimism, this isn’t the case always. According to Insider, in a study conducted in 2009 at the Seattle Pacific University, had participants feeling a bit delusional post meditation. While, in a study held in 2017 in Brown University and the University of California found that “nearly half of the participants in the 2017 study experienced delusional, irrational, or paranormal thoughts caused by meditation, as well as a change in executive function, the ability to control yourself and get things done”.

READ| A beginner’s guide to meditation: Here are some things to know

While many are hopeful and enthusiastic about giving meditation a shot, it is given that people feel worse after it. However, it is unclear as to how it happens. Enthusiasm for meditation may partly stem from a growing awareness of the side effects of antidepressant medicines and the difficulties some people report when they stop taking them. There have been some reports of people experiencing worse mental health after starting meditation but it is unclear how often this happens.

READ| These five meditation apps will help relieve work stress

However, you shouldn’t give up on the idea of giving meditation a shot. Rather than trying it on your own, go for a guided meditation discourse which is much safer. There are pre-recorded sessions available online. In fact, there are various meditation apps available both on Android and IOS to help you with the same.

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