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Depression – The Mindfulness Approach 3 Helps

Depression is not only the most common mental illness, it’s also one of the most tenacious. Up to 80 percent of people who experience a major depressive episode may relapse. Drugs may lose their effectiveness over time, if they work at all.

But a growing body of research is pointing to an intervention that appears to help prevent relapse by altering thought patterns without side effects: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT.

A new study on the approach to be published in a forthcoming issue of The Lancet found that MBCT helped prevent depression recurrence as effectively as maintenance antidepressant medication did. (Evidence-based Synthesis Program Center, 2014).

“People at risk for depression are dealing with a lot of negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs about themselves and this can easily slide into a depressive relapse,” says the Lancet study’s lead author, Willem Kuyken, PhD, a professor at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. “MBCT helps them to recognize that’s happening, engage with it in a different way and respond to it with equanimity and compassion.”(By Stacy LuMonitor Staff 2015, in American Psychological Association)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that helps you learn to calm your mind and body to help you cope with illness, pain, and stress, founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979.

MBSR teaches “mindfulness,” which is a focus only on things happening in the present moment. For example, you may sit quietly and notice your emotions. You might focus only on the sounds around you or how your food tastes and smells. When you are mindful, you do just one thing and you pay close attention to that one thing.

Another important part of mindfulness is to not judge the present moment. This is because judgments may lead you to dwell on (or “get stuck” thinking about) bad situations, feelings, or thoughts. And dwelling on the past does not help you accept or solve problems. It just brings you down.

By training your mind to focus only on the present, you learn not to get lost in regrets from the past or worries about the future. Letting go of such thoughts may help you worry less and accept things as they are. Mindfulness teaches you to be in control of your mind so that your mind doesn’t control you. (WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise, Last Updated: November 14, 2014)

Mindfulness (ala Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn) is not a time to “zone out” or “space out” but is rather a time to purposefully pay attention and be aware of your surroundings, your emotions, your thoughts, and how your body feels.

3 Mindfulness Helps

  1. Coffee

“It would seem that meditating by coffee is an oxymoron,” says Gloria Chadwick, the author of “Zen Coffee: A Guide to Mindful Meditation.” “Coffee jazzes you up and meditation calms you down.”

Focus on the sensations coming from your coffee.

Notice the warmth, the rising steam.

How does the cup feel in your hand?

When you take a sip, pay attention to the taste, the aroma.

As you swallow, feel the warm liquid.

“By focusing on your coffee — making it a special time to meditate — it can actually    make you calm and relaxed,” says Ms. Chadwick. (Meditation for Real Life, By DAVID GELLES, NY Times SEPT. 14, 2016)

  1. Meditation

Meditating before running could change the brain in

ways that are more beneficial for mental health than practicing either of those activities alone, according to an interesting study of a new treatment program for people with depression.

As many people know from experience, depression is characterized in part by an inability to stop dwelling on gloomy thoughts and unhappy memories from the past, known as rumination.

  1. Running

Interestingly, meditation and exercise affect those same portions of the

brain, although in varying ways. Aerobic exercise substantially increases the             production of new brain cells in the hippocampus.

Both meditation and exercise also have proven beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. (By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, meditation-plus-running-as-a-treatment-for-depression, well.blogs.nytimesMARCH 16, 2016 5:30 AM)

This is where Counseling on Demand comes in. There is another “help” crucial to depression, Talk Therapy.  This is not just talk.  It is the relationship that heals. Talk therapy can also help with relapse. We know MBCT & MBSR.

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I am the Founder and CEO of Counseling On Demand with a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with over 25 years of experience in helping Individuals, Couples, Adolescents, and Families who struggle with a wide variety of Life's Challenges. I thus have developed an Array of Effective Counseling Tools and Evidenced-Based Interventions to help you towards Your Road to Better Mental Health and Wellness. You are Never Alone...I look forward to meeting with you or your family member soon!