Meditation has been practiced all around the world in many different cultures for centuries. This practice has been used in multiple religions, from Christianity to Islam, Judaism to Buddhism and Hinduism.
Despite meditation having its beginnings as a religious practice, it is more commonly used today as a therapeutic technique to help aid the mind and body. So, let’s take a look at meditation, what it is, and how it can be helpful in treating mental health issues such as trauma.
Meditation is designed to help you reach a heightened state of awareness, consciousness, and focused attention. It is intended to clear the mind using a combination of mental and physical techniques. This is to encourage concentration and clarity.
Meditation is also meant to help you redirect your thoughts, calm the mind, and pay attention to the present moment with an accepting and nonjudgmental disposition. This is why so many people practice meditation in order to feel more relaxed, calm, and stable.
Meditation is therefore very beneficial in treating those with anxiety disorders, as it can help you focus your attention on the present moment, rather than the worry at hand. You can also use mindfulness as part of meditation, which can also help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, to help you manage them, instead of being overwhelmed by them.
On the whole, meditation is meant to be a consciousness changing technique used by many due to its wide range of benefits on your mental health and wellbeing.
Can Meditation Help Treat Trauma?
Yes, studies have shown that meditation can effectively reduce the symptoms of trauma. This is because meditation actively reduces stress hormones and calms the sympathetic nervous system. What this means is that instead of your fight-or-flight response to danger taking over, you will be in a more relaxed, calm state.
Meditation often comes in 2 forms. These are concentrative meditation and mindfulness meditation. The first is used to focus your attention on one specific thing while ignoring everything else around you.
Mindfulness meditation is different, and is used in both mindfulness based stress reduction and mindfulness based cognitive therapy by therapists and psychologists. Mindfulness is used to treat mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, as it involves being aware and present in the moment in an accepting manner. This can help you tackle your thoughts and feelings without judgment to heal and recover.
That being said, meditation will not be a treatment for trauma, but when used in conjunction with other treatment approaches such as EMDR, hypnotherapy and parts work, it can be helpful. This is because it will help you focus, reduce stress, boost the mood, and remain calm.
How To Meditate for Trauma
First, choose a quiet place without any distractions. Turn off your phone, the TV, or music unless it is calming.
Then, set a time limit for about 5-10 minutes. Begin to focus on your body and ensure you are comfortable. Try sitting on a chair with your feet on the ground, or find a comfortable position.
Next, you bring your focus to your breathing. Take deep breaths into your belly, and exhale slowly out. Count your breaths as you do this. While breathing, try to take notice of your thoughts.
Whenever your thoughts and attention wander, bring it back to focus on your breathing. Do not judge your thoughts, just direct your mind back to the breaths. Continue until your timer runs out.
If you would like to try meditation for PTSD, please speak to a therapist or counselor for guidance and support. Alongside therapy, meditation can be highly beneficial for trauma symptoms.