- SKY Breath Meditation for depression and anxiety
- Factors in responding to depression care
- The uniform rapid response from SKY
- Prioritize your mental wellness with The Art of Living
Did you know that approximately 5% of adults suffer from depression, affecting an estimated 280 million people worldwide? This illness is also the leading cause of disability, especially in older adults, affecting many individuals’ ability to function at work, school, or within their families. Thankfully, there are effective ways to manage major depression, including meditation.
If you’ve never heard about meditation for depression, you may be a little skeptical at first. However, there is real evidence to support the effectiveness of meditation in improving symptoms of depression, changing your response to negative thoughts, enhancing your ability to manage your depression long-term, and preventing depression relapses.
If you’d like to give meditation a try, Art of Living’s SKY Breath Meditation is a great way to get started. In this article, we’ll share more information about this program and how it can help you find relief from your depression.
SKY Meditation is all about the power of your breath. Unlike some types of meditation, SKY is an evidence-based practice that you can trust to increase your energy levels, feel calmer, reduce anxiety and stress, and manage your negative thinking.
Participants in SKY meditation have experienced a reduction in anxiety, with a 73% response rate in those who previously tried meditation or psychotherapy treatment. This means that no matter how severe your depression symptoms are, SKY is very likely to help you recover. Best of all, you can start lifting the depression from your system and help others recover without delay.
The Research on SKY Breath Meditation For Depression and Anxiety | Art of Living
Before you get started with SKY meditation for depression, it’s important first to understand how depression affects the nervous system. Here’s some background on this serious and potentially debilitating disorder.
Many people with depression experience an over-activation of the stress response (also known as the fight or flight response). When your body is under stress, your sympathetic nervous system activates in order to enhance your chances of survival when dealing with a potential threat or dangerous situation. When this happens, you notice side effects like a more rapid heart rate, slowed-down digestion, increased adrenaline, and tense muscles.
Although the fight or flight response is a normal reaction to stress, some people experience it even when there is no real danger, especially those with mental health conditions like anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression.
Getting caught in the heightened state of fight-or-flight is damaging to your body and mind and can lead to health issues. It prevents your body from resting, which is when the parasympathetic nervous system takes over. This division of your central nervous system controls homeostasis. When this well-being response is activated, your heart rate slows, you regain a sense of calm, your digestion improves, and your stress hormone and blood pressure lower.
Relaxing is crucial if you want your parasympathetic nervous system to take over and restore your body. SKY can help you do just that while helping you learn how to prevent negative feelings that can elevate your stress levels.
If you’re suffering from depression, you no doubt want to start feeling better as soon as possible. There are usually three factors involved in determining how soon a patient responds to classic treatments for depression:
- Length of time a person has suffered depression
- Severity of depression
- Degree of biological brain dysfunction, shown by the out-of-the-ordinary brainwave activity that accompanies depression
All of these factors determine how quickly a person will recover after starting treatment for their mental health. If you have a major depressive disorder, it may take several weeks or months to notice changes in your mental and physical health as your antidepressants take effect.
However, with SKY, there’s a uniform rapid response, regardless of the severity of depression, the length of time suffering from depression, and the degree of brain dysfunction accompanying depression.
Meditation positively impacts parts of the brain that cause depression as soon as you start practicing it. It prevents the prefrontal cortex from going into overdrive and stops the amygdala from activating your fight or flight response and triggering a spike in cortisol. On top of these benefits, meditation practice also increases the amount of gray matter in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory.
Meditation training with SKY helps you let go of your negative feelings, teaching your brain to focus on the present moment rather than on everything that stresses you out or causes anxiety. As a result, the parts of your brain that react to fear and anxiety are not triggered, your stress hormones are not activated, and you maintain a sense of calm.
So even in the depressing world of depression, there’s good news on the horizon. SKY Breath Meditation is easy for us to take a hold of and run with, and really self-empowering!
Of course, you don’t just want to prevent your fight-or-flight response from taking over — increasing your well-being response is just as important.
Although modern drug therapy is effective at reducing the stress response, it doesn’t increase your well-being response. Thus, people who are treated for depression by their healthcare may report that while their extreme desperation is lifted, they feel numb. They don’t have a spring in their step because the drugs don’t increase the well-being response, which is what brings joy to life.
SKY Breath Meditation is different! For people who are depressed, research shows that this meditation practice lowers the stress response. At the same time, it works to increase the well-being response so that those who practice it are vital and alive again.
Better yet, it doesn't take months to master! These changes begin immediately, from the very first session. Within one month (which is shorter than the average time for drug therapy) a 68-73% remission rate has been seen for depression and anxiety.
Furthermore, SKY Meditation causes changes in the biology of the body. For example, prolactin, a well-being hormone, brings about a cuddly, loving, secure feeling. Mothers experience high levels of prolactin when they're nursing their babies. However, not surprisingly, it's abnormally low in many depressed patients.
What's found with SKY is that from the very first session, that well-being hormone, prolactin, begins to significantly increase (by roughly 33%). This process doesn’t take months — it starts to increase during the very first session. This may be why there’s this uniform rapid response among people who practice SKY Breath Meditation.
In addition to an increase in prolactin, studies have shown that those who participate in SKY Meditation experience a 56.6% decrease in the stress hormone cortisol in two weeks. By following a regular SKY Meditation practice for just two short weeks, you can experience a significant decrease in the stress that can often lead to anxiety and depression.
Of course, there are more benefits of meditation. If you want to learn more about them, be sure to explore meditation for beginners or try SKY for yourself!
Your well-being is important. Your quality of life is important. Your mental health is important. If you’re suffering from depression, don’t wait to find relief! You can start lowering your stress response today while increasing your well-being response simultaneously.
If you would like to know more about the SKY meditation techniques, join Breathe Strong! During this free online introductory session, you’ll be able to interact with a live instructor who can answer your questions and help you understand why SKY daily meditation is the self-care you need to treat your depressive episodes. We also recommend downloading our Journey app, which features guided meditation sessions you can start using today!