Not Everyone *Should* Meditate — Here Are Reasons Not To
Most people think meditation is great and everyone should do it. They would be right — with a few caveats.
Not everyone should be meditating.
Here are a few examples of those who won’t reap benefits from meditation and who may encounter problems instead:
- People with severe past trauma.
- People who are severely persistently mentally ill (SPMI).
- Those who use meditation as a substitute for other tools that would be more effective for their specific situation.
If you have PTSD and past trauma, be careful with meditation
If you are still learning to deal with your PTSD, talk with your therapist before trying to start a meditation practice.
In my years of sober coaching trauma victims who had been sexually assaulted, I found most didn’t want to meditate after trying it on their own and having a bad experience. This made them reluctant to ever try it again.
Which is understandable. Many trauma victims report the stillness of meditation can trigger flashbacks — the exact thing they want to avoid.
People who are severely mentally ill are unlikely to benefit from meditation
However, the branch of meditation known as mindfulness can be helpful when approached properly, according to this research.
Imagine telling a schizophrenic to meditate. That’s not going to work; that’s a mind impossible to quiet. Some with severe depression and anxiety may also find the experience of sitting in silence to be detrimental, much like someone who is suffering from PTSD.
Meditation is a tool not to be abused
While meditation is an excellent tool with many benefits, it’s not right for all problems at all times.
There are occasions when a breathing exercise is better suited to the situation, as in during an anxiety attack. I’ve never used meditation in the middle of my own PTSD attacks.
It’s not the right tool for that.
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