The practice of mindfulness can help those suffering from depression. For example, many people who have depression deal with negative thoughts that often spiral out of control. As a result, they are left feeling overwhelmed. Mindfulness is the act of staying in the present moment and recognizing your feelings without judgment. In addition, mindfulness can help you focus on reality without dwelling on negative emotions or thoughts. As a result, mindfulness for depression has great benefits.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends mindfulness as a way to prevent depression relapses. As well as that, you can use mindfulness along with other approaches, such as medication, to prevent depression.
Mindfulness and the Power of Thought
Importantly, those who practice mindfulness view their thoughts as less powerful. To put it simply, negative thoughts have no power over them. When a person with depression experiences a setback such as not getting a promotion, it can trigger a depressive episode. Mindfulness does not mean the absence of negative thoughts, like “I failed my math test, therefore I am a failure.” It means recognizing that the feeling is unpleasant, and that you are not a failure at everything. For instance, those with depression can acknowledge situations and thoughts as challenging and then let the emotions pass.
A good metaphor for this is the sky and the clouds. Your thoughts and emotions are like clouds. You observe the clouds-your thoughts and emotions- and wait for them to pass like clouds in a sky.
Mindfulness for Depression Benefits
1. Stay in touch with your own feelings. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy helps those suffering from depression stay focused on the present moment without dealing with negative thoughts. Due to this process, if a person experiences a stressors like the hurt feelings that come from being rejected, they can realize the emotions are only temporary. As a result of viewing thoughts and emotions this way, it is easier to control negative thoughts.
2. Practice assertiveness. Mindfulness can help you confidently say “no.” As a result, you can feel better about acknowledging your own needs and respecting others as well.
3. Be aware of others. Moreover, being mindful of others allows for open communication. For example, the person can let go of painful past history and focus on the present moment.
4. In addition, mindfulness can help people feel more confident and compassionate towards themselves.
5. Moreover, those who practice mindfulness are more aware of their own body. As a result, they can identify potential physical signs before their depression spirals. As well as that, they can take positive steps to prevent a depressive episode or minimize its impact.
6. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of the natural flows of energy and mood that change and shift.
7. In addition, mindfulness for depression can help people accept that depression is not who they are.
8. Not only can mindfulness be a way for a person to feel their feelings, but also realize that sadness is not a problem to be fixed. Sadness just needs to be felt.
9. Mindfulness helps people really connect with their bodies through breathing exercises and body scans. As a result, mindfulness practitioners can stay in tune with the physical world without getting “trapped” in their heads
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Depression
Studies have shown that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can be as effective as antidepressants in preventing relapses of depression. For instance, this type of therapy combines cognitive therapy, learning about and changing negative thought patterns, and mindfulness. Moreover, this is typically group therapy that lasts about eight weeks in combination with at-home exercises.
In addition, mindfulness can help people recognize that thoughts are not facts. Over time, people can spot when negative thoughts build up and learn how to deal with them in more productive ways. As a result of recognizing thoughts as simply that, thoughts, people can gain more control over their emotions.
Mindfulness for Depression Studies
A study from the University of Exeter found that 75% of mindfulness therapy patients felt well enough to stop taking their medications. As a result of this type of therapy, people can stay in the present moment and avoid rumination, which can contribute to depression. Rumination simply means overthinking about situations from the past.
When you pay attention to what you are currently doing instead of dwelling on negative thoughts, we can see them for what they are: passing moments. In fact, many with depression struggle with dwelling on negative thoughts. In addition, mindfulness therapy can help supplement long-term antidepressant usage.
Mindfulness for Depression and Meditation
During sessions, students can learn how to meditate. In fact, studies show that those who practice mindfulness-based cognitive therapy report feeling more energy. In addition, the report not feeling as overwhelmed by emotions while still being able to communicate effectively with others.
Overall, the mindfulness based cognitive therapy technique largely focuses on mindfulness meditation. For example, participants will complete breathing exercises. As a result of dwelling on the rhythm of your breathing, you will often feel a sense of detachment.
Mindfulness Breathing Exercises
1. Get in a comfortable position. You can either lie down or sit in a comfortable seat.
2. Shut your eyes. Many people can concentrate more with their eyes closed. Try to feel your breath as it moves through your body. Importantly, don’t try to control your breathing, just let it flow.
3. Keep your mind away from the task at hand. For example, if you find you are not focusing on your breathing anymore, this happens and it’s okay, come back to it.
4. Eventually, you will feel a greater sense of calm wash over you.
Mindfulness Meditation and Depression
Overall, mindfulness meditation can help you stay focused on your body and your mind. For example, just by taking a few moments to pause and stay present can work wonders for your mental health. Try taking a few minutes out of each day to simply focus on your breathing or how you are feeling.
Furthermore, when people are trying to repress negative emotions or thoughts, they grow stronger than ever. Mindfulness and meditation does not mean you rid yourself of negative thoughts. You simply acknowledge and accept them, then let them pass.
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