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Why Meditation Could Be Bad For Your Mental Health

mental health

Why Meditation Could Be Bad For Your Mental Health

You heard me. Meditation. Bad for your mental health…By ‘meditation’, I mean the ‘seated, silent’ version.

Take a step back to the time when I first started exploring meditation. I signed up to a transcendental meditation course, which I continue to practice today. I was warned and read about the dangers of going down the ‘rabbit hole’, getting lost in psychosis, paranoia and all that terrifying stuff. Why on earth would I want to go down that ‘path’. I still did, and I managed to find a different path, one filled with bliss, freedom and a new sense of presence. On one level, I got my life back again (and I performed better at work too). All this ‘rabbit has me’ stuff was in my opinion an attempt by some to discredit the practice.

But still, this meditation being ‘bad for your mental health’ thing… Curious? Me too. This new introspection was inspired by a recent post where scientists who have created a method to induce the long term effects of meditation, also expected to see more people experience the ‘negative side effects’ of meditation. Miguel Farias at Coventry University said:

‘If larger stimulation studies do indeed show increases in mindfulness, we’d also expect an increase in negative effects too….Meditation and mindfulness is not for everyone – that’s the important message.’

I was genuinely surprised to read this. But it made me think more about the topic.

Meditation can sometimes force you to look at your shit. Maybe you don’t want to look at it. Suppression of our thoughts in the unconscious mind where everything is stored is an entirely normal human experience.

Watching stuff come up and observing your thoughts pass by maintaining a single point of attention is one aspect of meditation. Going back in and taking a ‘second look’ may not be what you want. Everyone is different and may react or behave differently, as they say.

Maybe your mind flies around at a 1000 miles per hour and it’s just not possible. Maybe you’ve got ADHD or something similar?

It’s even acknowledged in the practices of mindfulness meditation that initially symptoms may get worse as you become more conscious or mindful. I’m not sure this fact is understood as people embark on a course of mindfulness, expecting it to be the panacea to their mental health problems immediately.

In short, meditation may not be for everyone. It’s bloody hard work actually: The dedication, the time and the consistency of practice to actually make it work.

If it’s not for you, there are plenty of other modalities out there for healing. Maybe it’s sound healing, maybe it’s conscious breathing? Maybe it’s a different form of meditation like yoga nidra, walking or something else all together? Who knows? The world is your oyster these days when it comes to alternative and complementary practices.

I meditate regularly, I believe it is good for me and I know it’s good for others too. On the whole, we know it is good, but maybe it’s just not for you. Maybe your mental health requires a different approach.

Has anyone else struggled with or had a bad experience with meditation?

Scott

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  • Great title, you got me with that. But, having read your post i can say i agree. You gotta be ready to look at yourself.

    Great balanced post.

    November 5, 2018
  • I will be very honest here… I think we may have ‘chatted’ about this before… I don’t like to meditate… I LOVE quite time and I can be quiet now, after a year on BWY Foundations… i get how GOOD quiet time is for one… but i don’t go deeper than that.
    I did once… and it frightened the hell out of me… I am not into control freakery on any level, but during that specific time I felt like i had lost control. I didn’t like, and i cannot explain it, the ‘space’ i was in. It took me YEARS to get over that time and i have never truly gone that far into meditation again.
    Now, my best way to still my mind, think, or not even think is to run… on the treadmill, on the trail… even on the pavements… I often have LOADS of thoughts going my mind, i solve ALL my problems running… but… when i get home, my mind is clear… sometimes i cannot even recall what went through my mind if anything.
    What i do now enjoy, is if i am home alone…. is to put the hifi on LOUD and pump monks chanting an om mantra through those speakers…. the whole house vibrates and i just LOVE it!

    November 7, 2018
  • Interesting read Thank you and yes important for us to find what works for us and remember too that this may change. Inspiring too as so tempting in busy world to follow mindlessly what others are doing. For sure find teaching Mindfulness it so lovely for so many but a times its simply a a mis match 🙂

    November 16, 2018

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