Jan Kopřiva

How Meditation Can Help You Cope With Seasonal Depression

With the last days of summer warming up your face, you can’t wait to introduce all your favorite autumn vibes into your everyday style and routine. There are many pleasant events to prepare for – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and whatnot. However, many tend to forget that negative thoughts and negative emotions are soon to pour into your life and trigger those annoying seasonal depressive episodes, all due to a regular seasonal shift. However, there is a way to deal with these changes and prevent depression effectively. All you need is the perfect mindfulness practice to improve and stabilize your mental health!

What is seasonal depression?

Whether we like it or not, it is challenging to succeed in managing depression if you don’t know what triggers it. You’ll need theoretical knowledge and practical coping skills to battle those negative sensations and reduce stress. This is where you get to know what Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) stands for. As opposed to major depressive disorder (MDD), SAD is a condition triggered by the change of seasons, days getting colder and darker. MDD, in its turn, isn’t usually connected with any environmental shifts. It is a mental condition that people may deal with throughout the course of their lives. In some cases, the only way to keep the major depressive disorder at bay is with the help of antidepressants and professional support.

SAD comes and goes as your serotonin and melatonin return to normal. These two hormones are responsible for mood swings and sleep patterns. The moment your body gets enough light and starts to produce enough of these hormones, you will feel better in no time. However, light therapy isn’t the only practice to help you reduce the negative effect of seasonal changes. Regular meditation practice can help you suppress negative thinking and negative emotions along with other symptoms of depression too.

When does seasonal depression start?

Truth be told, SAD can come over you during any season, but the middle of autumn, winter, and early spring are the most common periods that people suffer from seasonal depression. We say “suffer” since the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are anything but pleasant. See for yourself:

Decrease in energy

Sleeping issues, including insomnia and the inability to wake up on time

Appetite shifts, unusual cravings

Loss of concentration

Unsociable tendencies

Unpleasant feelings of constant anxiety, agitation, and stress

Drop in sexual drive

Suicidal and negative thoughts

How can meditation help against depression?

Before you take on mindfulness training and set your personal goals of mindfulness meditation, you may want to learn how meditation can help you battle another upcoming depressive episode. Here’s the scientific proof you are searching for:

Hippocampus protection

The hippocampus is the brain region that is responsible for memorizing and learning skills. Mindfulness meditation is known to assist the brain part in producing more gray matter, literally. People who suffer from depression have smaller hippocampal areas, and if you practice regularly, you will strengthen the region and manage depression.

Vagus nerve stimulation

Another helpful area where meditation practices come of use is Vagus nerve stimulation. This nerve is responsible for emotional regulation. You get the picture, right? The fewer negative sensations, the better and less depressed you will feel.

Awareness spike

Regular practice of meditation will assist in increasing awareness of the practitioner so that you can make some positive changes in your mindset. Along with these changes, it will be twice as easy to detect difficult emotions and symptoms of depression. Such an approach ensures that you will be able to concentrate on the present moment instead of dwelling on internal or external stressors. With the help of different meditation practices, you can learn to accept things the way they are and control your negative thought patterns.

Decreased stress levels

Your life is filled with all sorts of stressful situations, and the brain responds to them by increasing anxiety, triggering depression and other mental health issues. However, regular meditation practice can help you make those stress levels fall. Due to the relaxation you feel after meditation, the process alters your stress response and makes you the one in control.

Changed brain

Some brain regions remain underdeveloped, especially if you feel depressed most of the time. The prefrontal cortex is one of those regions. In case you don’t know, the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for decision-making, self-expression, memory, and social relationships. The moment you start practicing meditation, the prefrontal cortex will become thicker and less susceptible to the symptoms of depression.

Anti-relapse protection

Just because you fight depression off once does not mean that you won’t ever go down that road again. However, if you stick to your mindfulness meditation practice, you can decrease the chances of depression relapse significantly.

5 Meditations for Seasonal Depression

Since we have already figured out that meditation helps against depression, you may wonder which type works best against seasonal depression. There is more than one option you can pick from. However, you should keep in mind that meditation works well in sync with other treatments to ensure total depression elimination.

Loving-kindness meditation

Loving-kindness meditation is a way of treating depression through dedicated self-care routines. The practice improves your general well-being and decreases stress. If you practice the technique often, you will be more eager to forgive others, connect with people and accept yourself the way you are. It is one of the most challenging mindfulness practices to succeed with since you have to manage to love yourself along with those who surround you. Yet, the result is worth the time and effort.

Mindfulness meditation

This is the core of all the types of meditative practices that are known at the present moment. Mindfulness meditation can help you tame your racing thoughts and physical sensations so that you can calm your mind and let go of all the negativity. Some practitioners claim to have found a greater sense of life through the practice.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a powerful combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and mediation. The main aim of the practice is to address and battle depression. A dedicated specialist usually assists you in connecting to the present and breaking away from the major triggers of negative thoughts and emotions. This practice is exceptionally good regarding seasonal depression since it helps eliminate the seeds before they root deeply and affect your mental health.


Aside from mindfulness-based stress reduction through meditation therapy, there are other forms of practice to deal with depression. Yoga is among the most commonly spread routines. The primary characteristic of yoga is that it is equally effective when it comes to your physical and mental health. Yoga consists of various exercises and breathing techniques that improve your strength and concentration.

Walking meditation

Walking meditation is another meditation practice that can help you deal with seasonal depression. Unlike all the other techniques, the practice teaches you how to embrace your physical side and combine it with your mental state. The primary aim of walking meditation is to concentrate on every body part that makes you move and fully embrace the detailed process without distracting yourself from external aspects.

Your mental health is as important as your physical health. However, people tend to pay less attention to the former until it is too late. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that depression is quite a misleading state that isn’t easy to detect until it roots deep in your mind. As you can see, even regular season changes can trigger a depressive state without you even realizing why and how it happens. Yet, with all the information we have presented, you will be able to detect and safely eliminate the earliest signs of depression with the help of meditation. No matter the type of activities you prefer, there is always an option that will suit you best!