Avoiding Mental Illness Through Soul Presence Awareness: The Antidote to Worry and Depression

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Depression and anxiety are real illnesses that affect people from all walks of life. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of people receiving clinical diagnoses of anxiety and depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2014) claims that 40 million adults in the United States (representing 18% of the population) suffer from an anxiety disorder, making it the most prevalent mental ailment in the country.

People with anxiety disorders often also experience depression, and vice versa. About half of all people diagnosed with depression also suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. The effects of these illnesses can make daily life intolerable for those who suffer from them. If they are severe enough, they can render a person incapacitated because they cannot engage in at least two of the three major spheres of everyday life (i.e., at home, at work/school, and in relationships).

Calm down, and recognize that I am God.

Proverbs 46:10

Praying or meditating helps to alleviate or even eradicate despair and anxiety by stilling the mind. The mind achieves equilibrium in the stillness of meditation. Meditation and prayer are great ways to calm the mind and make it more open to experiencing expanded realms of consciousness. In reaction to mental calm, the brain enters a slower wave pattern between Alpha and Theta. When the mind calms down, the body follows suit.

Meditation, also known as mindfulness, has been shown to benefit those suffering from stress-related concerns and depressive symptoms. Twenty-two medical patients with DSM-III-R-defined anxiety disorders showed clinical and statistically significant improvements in sub- and objective signs of anxiety and panic after participating in an 8-week outpatient physician-referred group stress reduction intervention based on mindfulness meditation (Miller et al., 2014; Miller et al., 2016). Only 18 of the original 22 patients were available for a 3-year follow-up to contribute to the analysis of the effects in the long term. Results from the Hamilton Panic Scale, the Beck Anxiety and Depression Scales, the Mobility Index–Accompanied, and the Fear Survey were maintained in a repeated-measures analysis.

Astin (1997) also employed a mindfulness meditation-based 8-week stress reduction program, like Miller et al. (1995). In this study, researchers compared the outcomes of teaching 28 volunteers (half in an experimental group and half in a nonintervention control group) how to practice mindfulness-based meditation. Researchers hypothesized that mindfulness-based meditation would help patients manage chronic pain and reduce stress-related symptoms. Data from the experimental group showed significantly more significant changes in terms of an overall reduction in psychological symptomology, increases in both domain-specific sense of control and the use of accepting or yielding modes of control in their lives, and higher scores on a measure of spiritual experiences when compared with the control group.

In his research on treatments for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological discomfort, Marchand (2012) found that MBSR, MBCT, and Zen meditation produced similar results. MBSR and MBCT have been shown to alleviate general psychological pain and have broad-spectrum antidepressant and antianxiety effects. The available data suggest that MBSR and MBCT are effective supplementary treatments for anxiety symptoms. MBSR helps improve mental health and cope with stress in people of all ages and backgrounds, including those with physical and mental health problems.

Astin (1997) came to the conclusion that mindfulness-based practices, such as meditation, may be an effective cognitive-behavioral coping strategy for modifying our reactions to life’s challenges because of their focus on cultivating detached observation and awareness of the contents of consciousness. In addition, there is some evidence that meditation practices can help reduce the risk of relapse in mood disorders.

The goal is to avoid anxiety and despair altogether. However, please be aware that meditation itself is not a curative practice. Meditation is merely a method for producing a desired result. You’ll need nails and a lot of two-by-four planks (among many other things) to construct a house. All the pins and boards in the world won’t help you build a house if you don’t have a hammer and something to apply the pounding pressure your body produces.

Meditation, like a hammer, is the tool that makes it possible for ideas to take form. Mindfulness, the result of meditating, is the ability to calm the racing thoughts that plague the mind. Once one has attained silence, the mind becomes alert or fully aware of What it Is. This state of awareness is consciousness, or more specifically, Higher Consciousness.

One’s Higher Self can be accessed through the practice of mindfulness. Images, impressions, and creative thought form the basis of its linguistic system. A direct line of communication with All That Is is its ultimate goal. Meditation in the present moment is where you can make contact with and embody your true Soul Self. In this place, your small self (ego) submits to the greatness of your Soul. In this state of mind, you are receptive, and your imagination and sensibilities can run wild.

You need to connect with your Soul to get the most out of your meditation. The first thing you need to know is that your Soul is always with you, even if you can’t physically feel It. Having a vivid imagination is the most essential quality. Imagining the presence of your Soul is all that is required. Simply put, have faith! It’s necessary, of course, to have confidence that this is the case.

However, if you feel any physical, emotional, or mental sensations, check out the symptoms below to see if they sound familiar.

The first step is to find a peaceful spot where you can relax. Take some time to unwind by lying down or sitting somewhere quiet. Turn your attention inward by closing your eyes and ignoring your external environment. Try this: take three deep breaths into your chest, hold them for two, and then let them out gently throughout five counts. Discover your beat, and focus your attention on the breath.

With continued practice, you will find yourself in a state of flow, of effortlessness; your mind will become precise and attentive, and you will be able to notice the sounds of your environment without being distracted.

Get some peace. Now, invite your Soul to come along; it’s always there.

You may be feeling

a minor discomfort in the Solar Plexus, Heart, Third Eye, or Crown of your body (the area between your eyebrows, the middle of your head, and the top of your head, respectively);
an intensification of caring and affection;
a little jolt of electricity that can enter the body through the soles of the feet, the crown of the head, or both at once; it can travel upwards, downwards, or outwards.
a prickling feeling on the scalp, typically in the area of the right side of the brain or elsewhere on the body, which may manifest as goosebumps;
sensations of expansion and receptivity in certain Chakra zones, like a flower opening to the morning sun;
an emotional state characterized by extreme happiness; inner calm, and contentment;
a feeling of boundless expanse, as if one has emerged from a small room into a vast open arena;
feeling as though you’ve left your body behind, knowing that you are and that everything is okay;’ seeing’ an inner light within your mind’s eye’ (either as a highly bright flash or an enduring less bright light that seems like someone turned the light on in the room); an out-of-body mystical journey to places not of this physical plane of existence; moments of insight and understanding throughout the day; the desire to offer love and kindness.

The National Depressive and Anxiety Association (2014). Information and data. Is That So? From http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics (accessed on 2015-08-17).

Author: Astin, J. Mindfulness meditation for stress relief. Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, 66(2), 97-106. Extracted on August 17, 2015.

In Marchand, W. Depression, anxiety, pain, and emotional distress can all be helped with Zen meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Psychiatric Services, 53, 234–241. Extracted on August 17, 2015.

John Miller, Kathleen Fletcher, and Jon Kabat-Zinn (1995). A stress reduction program based on mindfulness meditation: Three-year follow-up and therapeutic implications for treating anxiety disorders. Psychiatry in the General Hospital, 17(3), 192-200. Extracted on August 17, 2015.

Kory M Wood is a Licensed Professional Counselor who writes on the information we need to move swiftly forward on our spiritual path. She doesn’t just talk about unusual facts; she also covers fundamental ideas like forgiveness, asking for what you want on faith, meditation, and responding to “The Call.” Visit her website at http://www.KoryMWood.com, Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/KoryMWood/1602809989976225, and social media accounts on Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest for more details on these and other issues.

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