Today mental illness is affecting more people than ever before. It can strike anyone, anytime, and the outcome can be devastating. This is why getting educated and taking the proper action to prevent or reduce your risk is essential.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with such an issue, finding out everything you can is the best way to reach the perfect treatment plan. And because alternative therapies have become more and more appreciated, it’s time we found out together about the holistic mindfulness-based approach.
The Effects of Mental Illness
Mental illness comes in many shapes and forms. On the one hand, there is anxiety, which can vary in intensity and is characterized by a constant sense of dread and large amounts of unwarranted stress. In the case of conditions such as depression or mild schizophrenia, a tendency to become socially withdrawn and unproductive isn’t uncommon.
Other symptoms include an inability to focus on tasks and even a drastic drop in the desire to pursue the necessities of daily life. While there is still a lot to be said about this and too little time, the obvious similarity between most disorders of the mind is that they lower one’s quality of life to the point where even basic concentration becomes impossible.
If this is your case, you might find yourself in dire need of regaining control over your own existence. This where mindfulness comes in. Not only can it help you keep the positives of life in mind, but it will also drive you to live more in the present and dispel any damaging thoughts plaguing your mind.
How Mindfulness Helps
Holistic doctors and healers have been professing the beneficial effects mindfulness has on mental health for hundreds, even thousands of years now. This is one of the many reasons why the ancient arts of meditation and naturally unified living are still popular in the Eastern world today.
Even with all the advances in Western medicine, true balance still must come from within. When you are aware of each aspect of the present, you can regain control over your life, which is an important step towards recovery in the case of many disorders of the mind. And while this philosophy is an Oriental one, you shouldn’t dismiss its benefits.
In fact, modern medical science also backs up these claims. Studies have shown that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is just as effective in the treatment of major depression as other well-known alternatives. MBCT was proven to prevent relapses even in severe cases dating back to childhood.
On top of that, its ability to focus the mind and relieve stress also proposes it as a solution to consider in the case of other disorders, such as anxiety. What’s important to remember is that you shouldn’t expect it to work like magic. Just like any other traditional treatment, mindfulness needs to be upkept and exercised regularly.
The Benefits of Meditation
The scope of mindfulness and all its practices is large, but by far the most accessible and pleasant solution to help with mental illness at any stage is meditation. According to the Mental Health Foundation, meditation stimulates the pre-frontal cortex, which is basically the part of the brain in charge of positive emotions.
Simply put, meditating regularly stimulates happy thoughts. And happy thoughts are the best way to fight sad thoughts. While clashing two polar opposites might not sound like such a good idea in the case of someone who is in a frail mental state, just think about it. What’s the best way to flush out negative emotions?
While simply replacing them seems like only a temporary solution, this is exactly what regular meditation can change. Think of it as a sort of training for your mind that allows you to focus on what’s important and put your mind at ease from time to time. While it surely will be hard to follow at first, results will eventually come.
Furthermore, mindfulness also involves a heightened sense of awareness that will allow you to single out all the damaging patterns you are putting yourself through. And because knowing your enemy is the best way to defeat it, this will truly help you move past your illness and further your journey towards recovery and healing.
Mindfulness is only now being recognized as a viable solution in the treatment of mental conditions such as anxiety, depression or schizophrenia. Nevertheless, Eastern holistic wisdom has been supporting this theory for centuries now, which goes to show that there might be something to it after all.
Thus, if you haven’t considered meditation as an alternative therapy just yet, maybe it’s time you finally did. Its amazing benefits will not only raise your quality of life, but they will also help you shape your mind towards positivity and health, thus liberating you from the clutches of illness.
Alex Moore is a psychology graduate who regularly advocates for the benefits of mindfulness in treating both physical and mental diseases. Through his works he tries to bridge the gaps between science and self-reliance.