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 I would welcome any and all advice! I want to meditate to help with my depression, mainly, but also just to be more present and focused. 

I know, the obvious answer is right there: just sit and breathe! ;) But I'd like to give myself a little more structure so that my monkey mind has something to 'work with' as I start learning to calm it the heck down (sweet little monster that it is). I used to do loving-kindness meditation, guided and by myself. Any other suggestions?

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What it had worked the best for me is to count breathings every time your mind begins to imagine, thinking and dreaming. You can count complete or partial breathings (inspire,1, expire, 2 and so). Later you can focus your attention only to the breathing, without counting and them only in the vacuum and silence.

This is great advice, I'm glad to know a few different steps I can begin to do (or rather, NOT do) :) Thanks so much! 

It is a zen method ;) 

My pleasure

Depression is a state of mind, a perspective of seeing things a certain way.    In my experience, depression is always due to an unhealthy attachment of some kind.  Usually, this entails regrets about the past, fighting what IS (fighting your present situation), or stressing about the future.    All of this is an illusion.    The past is gone, the future hasn't happened yet.    Accept your life completely as it is.   That doesn't mean you can't work to achieve your goals.    But realize that whatever happens, you are an infinite being, trying an experiment - what it's like to live as a finite human in the matrix.   Don't be attached to results.  What happens, happens.    This is all just a game, to see what it's like to experience this form of existence.    If you go outside and it's cold and raining, say, "I LOVE the cold, I LOVE the rain.  The weather is PERFECT just as it is."   And really feel it deep inside yourself, don't just intellectualize it.   You are a beautiful spiritual being, perfect just the way you are.    I'm in Seattle and I used to always complain about the weather, but now that I've accepted everything, I'm so much happier, even when I'm riding my bike and freezing my butt off!    It's not a rationalization, it the realization that life is a beautiful gift.    It's all about your perspective.    This is only the beginning...

I love the truth of your thoughts, Jaden. It's so easy to become overly attached while we "experience this form of existence." I know I'm attached to many things that prevent me from keeping a good perspective, and part of my journey (if not the main part, right now) is searching for a clearer perspective. There is so much that is beautiful, I see more every day - I think that meditating will help me continue to open myself up to it. 

Breatharian?! Well, I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who claims to be one of those (not just because of DR's opinion but because of common sense), but I'm sure he has a lot of wisdom. I might check him out. I don't know anything about sungazing yet. I try to get more sun, though living in Western Canada it's impossible much of the time. Maybe a full spectrum lamp, yes :)

I tried a few medications in the past, not for that long because they didn't work and I didn't like taking the drugs. I haven't tried 5-HTP, though I have heard about it. I'll look for that too! It's wonderful to hear how well it worked for you when you needed it. :) I have also heard about GABA, which I think is natural, and my mum has had good results with it so far. 

My goal is to shift my lifestyle AND perspective enough to cope with my depression without extra medicines, natural or not. But I am going through a rough time in school right now (4th year university) and I just need a kickstart, like you say. 

Thanks so much for your very informative and compassionate advice. <3 Peace and blessings back! 

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