During these bright days of summer, it’s sometimes “easy to forget” about those suffering in the dark.
In fact, many people tend to attribute depression (or bouts of seasonal sadness) to the long, cold, dark days of winter.
But statistics show mental health symptoms spike alongside rising temperatures, too.
And sadly, more Americans are suffering from depression than ever before.
If that’s true for you or someone you love, a recent study found a simple at-home practice could help…
Kindness meditation improves memory recall
Depression can impair cognitive function.
But it also inhibits autobiographic memory. This is a type of explicit memory that allows individuals to recall specific episodes of their past.
Autobiographical memory is essential to overall functioning, as it helps regulates emotions, the development of self-concept, and more.
So, for the new study, researchers collected data on autobiographical memory for 50 students with a history of depression.
Participants were given cue words before being asked to write details of specific personal memories. In addition, 25 subjects were asked to color a picture daily. (This served as the control group.)
Meanwhile, the other half were asked to participate in kindness meditation for just 10 minutes daily, which included visualizations and an uplifting mantra.
It turns out, after four weeks, the kindness meditation group was able to better recall specific positive memories. They also experienced an uptick in self-concept, as they exhibited less rumination, or the dwelling of negative feelings and distress.
This finding suggests that kindness and self-compassion meditation can help generate more specific, positive memories among people with depression. And that may be a simple way to “reduce a cognitive vulnerability to depression,” as the study authors state.
A powerful mind-body practice
This isn’t the first time I’ve disclosed the positive benefits of meditation. In fact, I have also written about its ability to enhance cognitive function.
In another study, researchers focused on a group of 60 older subjects with subjective cognitive decline. One group listened to music for just 12 minutes daily, while the other group practiced Kirtan Kriya—a type of yoga meditation—for the same amount of time.
After just 12 weeks, the meditation group had a particularly notable increase in levels of beta-amyloid 40—an Alzheimer’s biomarker.
Now, this doesn’t mean their AD risk also increased. What’s important here is that a change in the biomarker occurred.
In fact, researchers contributed this change to pronounced improvements in memory, cognitive function, mood, sleep, and quality of life.
The bottom line?
Practicing this ancient mind-body technique could work wonders for your mental health—and overall cognition. Better yet? It only takes a few minutes daily to reap the rewards.
There are several meditation videos on the internet that you can follow from the comfort of your own home.
For another way to help combat feelings of depression, check out the March 2022 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Dine your way out of depression with six powerful ‘mood foods’”). If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to learn about becoming one.
“Kindness meditation helps people with depression recall positive memories, study finds.” MDLinx, 06/29/2023. (mdlinx.com/news/kindness-meditation-helps-people-with-depression-recall-positive-memories-study-finds/4JsnO4QM88xbnKV5bztZYT)