MDAO Forum

Support for People with Mood Disorders => General Discussion => Topic started by: eScotty on September 09, 2014, 06:17:31 pm

Title: Does meditation help?
Post by: eScotty on September 09, 2014, 06:17:31 pm
I"ve been reading about mindful meditation as an approach in dealing with anxiety and/or depression.  Does anyone have any experience trying this approach and care to share their view of how helpful it is?  Also, are there any free group sessions offered in Toronto?

Title: Re: Does meditation help?
Post by: Pleeb on September 10, 2014, 02:29:27 pm
Hi, e....Some hospitals in Toronto offer such courses, but you may have to be a patient at that hospital.  I took such a course at St. Mike's - I was accepted because my family Dr. and nurse practitioner are part of the hospital.  Toronto General and Western (?) had such courses too.

This area is a little confusing, as there's "regular" meditation, mindfulness meditation (takes too long to explain), and being "mindful."  The MDAO has a course in being mindful.

I've been doing "regular" meditation (sit in chair for 15 or so minutes, concentrate on breath to try to eliminate any thoughts) off and on for years.  VERY helpful for depression, I'm not sure if I can during depression.  BTW, when meditating, worrying/getting mad about intrusive thoughts is worse than the actual thoughts....only learned that semi recently.

I thought I meditated "well" this morning.......I notice that I'm being a little more mindful because of that.......for instance, eating a little more slowly.  Maybe when I get on the bus later, the bus will seem more interesting than usual.....I mean visually.

A bonus of being mindful when walking down the street or whatever - MUCH less negative ruminating - I'm too busy noticing my surroundings!

Good luck, Peter
Title: Re: Does meditation help?
Post by: paulm on September 10, 2014, 04:14:11 pm
Hello eScotty and welcome. Mindful meditation doesn't work for me. That doesn't mean that it is bad, just that it isn't meant for everyone.  I know some people who have good luck with it. The MM courses that combine cbt with the course I get a lot more out of it.

 There are a lot if courses in T.O., but not too many free ones. Just google Mindful meditation Toronto. is one example, another is which claims to have a sliding scale of fees depending on ability to pay.  provides a list of courses available in Toronto. provides a list of free meditation courses  in T.O, but they tend to be hr long intro courses.

 As Peter has said, the MDAO sometimes offers a free course.   I would sign up for their news letter.

 Varius hospitals may offer free courses, but you would have to google each one. Take Care. paul m
Title: Re: Does meditation help?
Post by: Daniel F on September 10, 2014, 05:23:32 pm
I find using mindfulness techniques and the mindful approach to dealing with my own mental health issues to be very useful. There is research that indicates people who are trained in mindfulness meditation and practice mindfulness regularly are less likely to experience "relapses" into depression as those who don't. As with any "wellness tool," I think each person needs to try things for themselves and see if they work. That being said, like learning any new skill, I think mindfulness meditation (or exercise, or diet changes, or anything like that) needs to be given a fair and persistent effort over some time to see if it is beneficial or not.
Title: Re: Does meditation help?
Post by: HSG on September 21, 2014, 08:07:28 pm
I would agree with Daniel - the extent to which it is useful may be dependent a bit on trying it for yourself and seeing how it works for you, or maybe adapting aspects of it into your life in such a way that it might be helpful.  I've actually been seeing someone at the mindfulness clinic and have benefitted a lot from the experience - I believe they also offer group sessions. The way I see it is that, through meditation, I can gradually can learn how to "turn off" that worrying voice in my head that always reminds me of the worst outcome, or that deepens or maintains me in a depressive state.  As you train yourself to just try to be with yourself and focus on my breath for a few minutes each day (I tend to do it in the subway on my way into work, just find a corner, close my eyes, and breathe) - it helps to at least break the "treadmill" of continual worry I tend to be on, and gives me a bit of time after the end where I come out with a bit of a different perspective than when I started - it helps to calm me down and get me more in the moment.

I was like Paulm - I had tried it a few years ago and it didn't seem to work for me then - but I was in the midst of a pretty deep depression then, and what I've since read is that that's sometimes not the best time to start - you almost don't have the energy to keep it up and just end up feeling worse off about yourself for "failing" at it.  It almost helps to start when you may be a little down, but still have energy to accomplish some things or at least to set aside a few minutes each day to start something - a lot of it is just about getting to do it a few times - its not something that comes immediately to many.  In fact some meditators who have practiced for years still encounter the intrusive thoughts that a beginner would, its just that, with practice, you get better at not letting a thought that pops in your head totally derail your meditation, you learn to let the thoughts "glance off" you and go back to focusing on the thing you were doing, like your breath.

There are some wonderful youtube videos by a philosopher called Alan Watts which I like as they help to describe a bit of what its like to practice meditation, or why it may be good for you if you are a person who is prone to worry.  Here is one example: ( - I really like many of his videos, they seem very insightful - he was an early adopter and popularizer in the west of Eastern philosophy like meditation and other topics.

I hope that's helpful. And of course, the main thing is don't get down on yourself for "failure", whether that's not sticking to a particular meditation course or some other lack of continuity - I am slacking after a good start at the meditation, for example - the whole point is just to try and pick up where you left off, and not be too hard on yourself, as that just makes things worse, or doesn't help you get into a meditative state.  I'm happy to talk about it more if you like, but I feel like I've rambled on enough here, so I'll stop for now ;)
Title: Re: Does meditation help?
Post by: Pleeb on September 26, 2014, 01:14:50 am
Hi, HSG - I'm an Alan Watts fan.  Coincidence - I bookmarked some of his YouTubes the other day.

I have various Zen books that I only look at once in a while.  Watts can write a book about Zen Buddhism without mentioning "Zen" or "Buddhism!"  He was an Anglican priest/minister.

Title: Re: Does meditation help?
Post by: paul on September 26, 2014, 01:28:14 pm

 Mediation IS self hypnosis.

 Enough said.