If you know someone who is suffering from depression and you would like to help them, as them if they’ve tried a mindfulness treatment for depression.
There is a healthy and natural way to treat depression. It’s called mindfulness. And you can do it today.
Mindfulness can be defined as “Consciously choosing to be non-judgmentally focused on the present moment.” Woah. That sounds complex. So let’s make it a little easier.
Mindfulness is focusing your mind on the present moment. It’s living without judgment, without criticism, without thoughts. And… well, if you want to know everything about mindfulness, you can read my complete guide to mindfulness meditation here.
Mindfulness has long been one of primary spiritual practices in the East. It’s recently become popular in the West too.
One of the reasons meditation is becoming so popular is because it can help cure depression.
In a recent groundbreaking study, the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that mindfulness is more effective than traditional medication for treating the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness Training Is The Most Powerful Way Of Treating Anxiety And Depression
At the John Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Madhav Goyal singled out mindfulness as the single most effective way of treating anxiety and depression.
“To me, it is not at all surprising that mindfulness performs as well as or better than medication [in the treatment of anxiety and depression],” says Adrian Wells, a professor of psychopathology at Manchester University and a clinical advisor to the charity Anxiety UK.
“In the group work that I’ve done with sufferers of anxiety or depression, I have found mindfulness to be highly effective in the treatment of anxiety because it calms the mind,” says psychologist Katie Sparks.
Buddhist monks have been advocating mindfulness for more than 2500 years. But what precisely is mindfulness?
Well, I’ll tell you what mindfulness meditation is here, in full. But here’s a brief explanation.
What Mindfulness Is And Why Mindfulness Treats Depression
“Mindfuluness is paying attention to your experience, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment or criticism,” says clinical psychologist Paul Christelis.
It’s taken a long time for mindfulness to become popular here at home in the west. It was in 2004 that mindfuulness began to become popular, when the UK’s National Health Institute approved mindfulness for the treatment of depression.
Mindfulness helps create complete mental health. American developmental psychologist Bruce Lipton states that mindfulness is about much more than just relaxation and can actually change genetic structure. The perceptions of the mind are reflected in our body’s chemistry. The nervous system changes depending on the way in which our mind interprets the present environment. This also proves the notion that changing your thoughts changes your reality.
The way the mind perceives its present environment changes the activity of genes, says Dr Lipton. The way you view your environment has such a big influence on you that it can lead to the creation of over thirty thousand variations of products from each gene. Dr. Lipton states that you can change your gene chemistry directly through mindfulness meditation.
“The function of the mind is to create coherence between our beliefs and the reality we experience,” says Dr. Lipton. “Your mind will adjust the body’s biology and behaviour to fit with your beliefs.”
This explains why if you believe that you will die in six months then you likely will conversely, if you believe you will live, you likely will.
Dr Wayne Dyer, when told that he was suffering terminal Leukaemia, immediately began to work on his book You’ll See It When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation. Dr. Dyer knew that belief is the key to reality. He believed he would survive, he dedicated himself to the belief that he would survive, and he survived, becoming the prove that belief changes reality.
Bruce Lipton on the Power of Consciousness
This introduces a triangulated mentality. There is the side of you that denies problems. When told by the doctor that we will die in six months, we disbelieve it.
The second side is the side that believes that the doctor is right. We’re accepting the reality and caving in under it. But then there is the third side, the side that accepts that we are ill and listens to the doctor’s diagnosis, but then determines that we will survive. It is this third side, the side that accepts realities but determines to direct reality towards our goal, that is the most powerful aspect of our mind.
We can only activate that side of the mind once we have accepted the present reality mindfully.
It isn’t just scientists who believe in mindfulness. Celebrities and companies do too.
Over the past few years lots more celebrities have stated taking up mindfulness. They include Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, Hugh Jackman and more. Many corporations have also begun to introduce mindfulness training classes for their employees. Cheerios manufacturer General Mills has incorporated a mindfulness training program which is now teaching mindfulness to 700 people. Their employees swear by it. 32 year old Tom from Oxfordshire UK says that 15 minutes of mindfulness each day has “led me to conquer anxiety and depression and find genuine peace inside of me.”
Kathryn, 34, adds, “I suffered from depression for more than ten years. Medication didn’t work for me. Mindfulness led me to look at my depressive thoughts in a different perspective. With mindfulness I learnt to manage my depression. Sometimes I get down, but these says I am in charge of my depression, rather than my depression being in charge of me.”
I, myself, suffered from what doctors called an “Acute stress reaction” that was truly devastating. I started practicing mindfulness and overcame my problem. And you can too, if you have been suffering.
It is high time that the world took mindfulness seriously.
The rise of mindfulness could not come at a more important time. In the UK depression and anxiety rates are at a high. Prescription antidepressants are given to more than 33.8 million people in a five year period. At the same time, stress and anxiety rates have never been higher.
But how does mindfulness cure anxiety and depression
Mindfulness works by allowing the mind to observe its own patterns. And in this regard it is similar to using other meditations for depression.
The average individual, when faced with negative thoughts, believes those negative thoughts are the be all and end all. They become consumed by their negativity. But through mindfulness we can lean to observe those negative thoughts. We can say, “My mind is creating a state of depression and anxiety at the present moment.” This self observation gives the mind power over itself. It let’s us think. “Oh. This negative feeling is being created by me. And if it’s created by me I can stop it.”
So, what to do now?
You might like to read how Sarah Thompson used mindfulness to help herself with depression. And there are other meditations that help with depression too. Click that link to learn all about them.
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