3 Reasons To Ask Your Doctor About Mindfulness Meditation

Studies have consistently found that mindfulness meditation has beneficial effects on a range of medical conditions. If you suffer from a chronic condition that is negatively affecting your life, ask your doctor about using meditation to alleviate your symptoms.

Chronic Pain That Is Not Alleviated With Medication

Studies of patients with chronic pain, such as that experienced in diseases such as lupus or fibromyalgia, find that meditation decreases both the intensity and frequency of their pain. A report in the Journal of Neuroscience found that even those new to mindfulness meditation had pain unpleasantness reduced by 57 percent and pain intensity reduced by 40 percent. The goal of mindfulness meditation is not to alleviate all pain, but to effectively manage the emotional response to pain and allow you to appreciate even those times when you have pain.

Chronic Insomnia That Is Affecting Your Health

Everyone has a few sleepless nights now and then, but chronic insomnia can affect both your physical and mental health. When life stresses leave you with a racing mind that keeps you awake, mindfulness meditation can calm those thoughts and allow you to fall into a restful sleep. Mindfulness meditation is concerned with focusing on your breathing and bringing your mind into this moment, putting aside all other thoughts of the present or past. It teaches you to acknowledge the thought then go back to your breathing, thus relegating the negative thoughts keeping you awake to the background of your mind. Use of a mantra can be very helpful. Try thinking "good thoughts in" on inhaling and "bad thoughts out" on exhaling. Sometimes, simply repeating the word "relax," or "sleep" is enough to send you to pleasant dreams.

Major Depression That Does Not Respond to Meditation

Studies have found that using mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is often more effective than counseling or medication for chronic depression. One common feature of depression is brooding, which is allowing sad thoughts to take over your mind instead of letting them pass through. By practicing mindfulness meditation when your find yourself stuck in bad thoughts, you are able to detach and separate your conscious self from your thoughts. Studies found that patients who regularly practice meditation have far fewer depressive relapses than those who use medication alone.

Mindfulness meditation is a process that must be learned. The best way to become adept at it is to take classes at a local meditation studio with an experienced instructor.