Mindfulness is defined as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something – a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. Mindfulness has long been part of spiritual practices and holistic approaches to wellness and healing, which makes it a great option for helping with depression.
Depression, the most common mental illness, affects millions of Americans every year. Many mental health professionals introduce mindfulness for depression to their clients as part of cognitive therapy. Intentionally focusing on the present, applying the practice of mindfulness can help improve cognitive symptoms of depression. Individuals note that distorted thinking can be quickly curbed and set right. Triggering, negative thoughts are greatly reduced and become less powerful. Concentration is improved.
Mindfulness: What is it?
Mindfulness meditation is a practice to train one’s attention. Over time, this state of mind becomes effortless, welcome, and longed for. Working toward a present state of mind is sometimes difficult for those who are new to mindfulness, but the practice is simple and gets easier over time. The practice trains one’s attention to focus and to limit the mind’s habit of wandering. At first, the practice may be sitting quietly for a few minutes per day, focusing one’s awareness on the present and redirecting random thoughts that interrupt that attention.
Mindfulness for Depression
Mindfulness for depression is taught as part of behavioral therapy, in a group or individual session. Once learned, the practice of mindfulness can be carried out in regular daily activities as well. We can be mindful while washing dishes, driving the car, walking the dog, or sipping a morning coffee. For those with depression, mindfulness can interrupt the habit of feeling negatively about one’s self or recalling an experience that brings negative feelings and experience these thoughts and feelings without controlling our emotional response to them, reducing rumination and relapse of depression cycles.
Depression has a way of hijacking one’s attention, creating a loop of thoughts that create a “rabbit hole” that is difficult to resist. Mindfulness creates a change of perspective that breaks the downward spiral and delivers one back to center. It helps one self-regulate her attention and, in return, brings the sensation of clarity and a sense of openness and peace.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, treatment is available and effective. Please give us a call – we are here to help.