Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 3

How will mindfulness practice help me?

It will help you understand what depression is.


It will help you discover what makes you vulnerable to downward mood spirals
, and why you get stuck at the bottom of the spiral
It will help you see the connection between downward spirals, and:
High standards that oppress us or feelings that we are simply not good en
ough
Ways we put pressure on ourselves or make ourselves miserable with overw
ork
Ways we lose touch with what makes life worth living.
How does mindfulness help reduce downward mood spirals?
1. When you enter a phase in our life during which you are vulnerable to depress
ion, you lose touch with what is going on around you. It is a sort of tunnel vis
ion: you can only see part of the landscape. You do not notice the moment when a
spiral of low mood is starting.
Mindfulness practice helps you to see more clearly the patterns of the mind;
and to learn how to recognise when your mood is beginning to go down. This mean
s you can nip it in the bud much earlier than before.
2. The very losing touch with things can put a barrier between yourself and the sm
all things in life that might have given you pleasure. This tendency can become
extreme in clinical depression where it is known as anhedonia (lack of pleasure fr
om things we used to enjoy). But we all may know the feeling, especially when th
ere is too much to do at work or home, or we are preoccupied on a project, when
we don t notice the small pleasures around us.
Mindfulness teaches you a way in which you can get back in touch with the ex
perience of being alive.
3. Low mood can bring back memories and thoughts from the past, and make you wor
ry about the future.
Mindfulness helps to halt the escalation of these negative thoughts and teac
hes you to focus on the present moment, rather than reliving the past or pre-liv
ing the future.
4. When you start to feel low, you tend to react as if your emotions were a prob
lem to be solved: you start trying to use your critical thinking strategies. Whe
n these do not work, you re-double your efforts to use them. You end up over-thi
nking, brooding, ruminating, and living in your head.
Mindfulness helps you to enter an alternative mode of mind that includes thi
nking but is bigger than thinking. It teaches you to shift mental gears, from th
e mode of mind dominated by critical thinking (likely to provoke and accelerate
downward mood spirals) to another mode of mind in which you experience the world
directly, non-conceptually, and non-judgementally.
5. When you have been depressed, you understandably dread it coming back. At its
first sign, you may try to suppress the symptoms, pretend they aren t there, or p
ush away any unwanted thoughts or memories. But such suppression often does not
work, and the very things you tried to get rid of come back with renewed force.
Mindfulness takes a different approach. It helps develop your willingness to
experience emotions, your capacity to be open to even painful emotions. It help

s give you the courage to allow distressing mood, thoughts and sensations to com
e and go, without battling with them. We discover that difficult and unwanted th
oughts and feelings can be held in awareness, and seen from an altogether differ
ent perspective
a perspective that brings with it a sense of warmth and compassi
on to the suffering you are experiencing.
Can I learn mindfulness if I have not been clinically depressed?
Yes. You can benefit from mindfulness whether you have a specific problem or not
. We all have times in our lives when we experience difficulty, stress and strug
gle; and for some of us this is our daily experience.
Developing greater awareness can open you to seeing how the mind becomes entangl
ed in and blinded by its own liking and disliking, pursuing and rejecting when y
ou try to maximize your happiness.
Mindfulness helps you see with greater clarity how you may approach your momentby-moment experience skilfully, taking more pleasure in the good things that oft
en go unnoticed or unappreciated, and dealing more effectively with the difficul
ties you encounter, both real and imagined.
What is depression?
Depression is a severe and prolonged state of mind in which normal sadness grows
into a painful state of hopelessness, listlessness, lack of motivation and fati
gue. It can vary from mild to severe. When depression is mild, you find yourself
brooding on your own negative aspects or those of others. You may feel resentfu
l, irritable or angry much of the time, feeling sorry for yourself, and feeling
that you need reassurance from someone. You may suffer various physical complain
ts that do not seem to be caused by any physical illness.
However, as depression worsens, feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness com
bine with low self-esteem, guilt, and memory and concentration difficulties to b
ring about a severely painful state of mind. To make things worse, you may exper
ience change in basic bodily functions. The usual daily rhythms seem to go out of
kilter : you can t sleep, or you sleep too much. You can t eat, or eat too much. Othe
rs may notice that you are agitated or slowed down, and you find your energy for
activities that you used to enjoy has hit rock bottom . You may even feel that lif
e is not worth living, and begin to get thoughts that you d be better off dead.
How does mindfulness help reduce downward mood spirals?
1. When you enter a phase in our life during which you are vulnerable to depress
ion, you lose touch with what is going on around you. It is a sort of tunnel vis
ion: you can only see part of the landscape. You do not notice the moment when a
spiral of low mood is starting.
Mindfulness practice helps you to see more clearly the patterns of the mind;
and to learn how to recognise when your mood is beginning to go down. This mean
s you can nip it in the bud much earlier than before.
2. The very losing touch with things can put a barrier between yourself and the sm
all things in life that might have given you pleasure. This tendency can become
extreme in clinical depression where it is known as anhedonia (lack of pleasure fr
om things we used to enjoy). But we all may know the feeling, especially when th
ere is too much to do at work or home, or we are preoccupied on a project, when
we don t notice the small pleasures around us.
Mindfulness teaches you a way in which you can get back in touch with the ex

perience of being alive.


3. Low mood can bring back memories and thoughts from the past, and make you wor
ry about the future.
Mindfulness helps to halt the escalation of these negative thoughts and teac
hes you to focus on the present moment, rather than reliving the past or pre-liv
ing the future.
4. When you start to feel low, you tend to react as if your emotions were a prob
lem to be solved: you start trying to use your critical thinking strategies. Whe
n these do not work, you re-double your efforts to use them. You end up over-thi
nking, brooding, ruminating, and living in your head.
Mindfulness helps you to enter an alternative mode of mind that includes thi
nking but is bigger than thinking. It teaches you to shift mental gears, from th
e mode of mind dominated by critical thinking (likely to provoke and accelerate
downward mood spirals) to another mode of mind in which you experience the world
directly, non-conceptually, and non-judgementally.
5. When you have been depressed, you understandably dread it coming back. At its
first sign, you may try to suppress the symptoms, pretend they aren t there, or p
ush away any unwanted thoughts or memories. But such suppression often does not
work, and the very things you tried to get rid of come back with renewed force.
Mindfulness takes a different approach. It helps develop your willingness to
experience emotions, your capacity to be open to even painful emotions. It help
s give you the courage to allow distressing mood, thoughts and sensations to com
e and go, without battling with them. We discover that difficult and unwanted th
oughts and feelings can be held in awareness, and seen from an altogether differ
ent perspective a perspective that brings with it a sense of warmth and compassi
on to the suffering you are experiencing.