Mindfulness Skills for Depression

Blog

October 4, 2021

I could tell something was different about my friend the moment we sat down to lunch.

The sparkle in her eyes had faded along with her ready smile. She seemed quiet and reserved. As we reconnected and chatted after a pandemic-induced hiatus in our friendship, she confided she was depressed.

My heart went out to my friend, who is far from alone in her melancholy. The prevalence of depression in the U.S. has increased threefold during the pandemic compared with pre-pandemic levels, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. And the World Health Organization reports that depression is the leading cause of ill health and disease globally.

Those facts likely don’t provide solace to any of us who may be experiencing depression. Still, it does let us know that it’s very human to feel mild, temporary episodes of sadness or more intractable, severe bouts of despair.

How to Help Manage Depression with Mindfulness

Depression results from a complex mix of social, psychological, and biological factors and affects our mood and the way we physically feel and think. When we’re depressed, we often feel anxious and irritable, lethargic and unmotivated. Our thinking also becomes distorted and negatively biased. (Learn more about the symptoms of depression from the Mayo Clinic.)

While many of us who struggle with depression feel hopeless, there’s reason to hope because there are many evidence-based ways to improve our mental health and alleviate depression, ranging from exercise to psychotherapy to medication and mindfulness.

Increasingly, mindfulness has become a first-responder in working with mood disorders. It’s often used in tandem with cognitive behavior therapy, for example, to enhance the therapy’s efficacy. Research shows, for example, that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or MBCT reduces depressive symptoms and also helps prevent the relapse of depression.

There are multiple ways mindfulness can help lessen depression:

  • Practicing mindfulness, for example, allows us to notice what we’re thinking and then observe our thoughts more dispassionately, becoming less entangled with them. Doing so often gives us more facility to let go of negative beliefs or more choice in reframing our situation productively and positively.
  • Mindfulness also can help us highlight and more fully experience the many small good moments in our day. Specific mindfulness practices such as loving-kindness can help us cultivate positive emotions, giving us greater access to feelings of joy, contentment, and gratitude in our daily lives.

There are multiple ways mindfulness can help lessen depression:

  • Practicing mindfulness, for example, allows us to notice what we’re thinking and then observe our thoughts more dispassionately, becoming less entangled with them. Doing so often gives us more facility to let go of negative beliefs or more choice in reframing our situation productively and positively.
  • Mindfulness also can help us highlight and more fully experience the many small good moments in our day. Specific mindfulness practices such as loving-kindness can help us cultivate positive emotions, giving us greater access to feelings of joy, contentment, and gratitude in our daily lives.
  • Through mindfulness, we also can become more responsive and less reactive to feelings of anxiety or irritability. By learning to be with things as they are, we widen the window of our tolerance to difficult emotions, dropping our resistance to them and allowing them to come and go more freely.

Virtual Mindfulness Sessions for World Mental Health Day

For these reasons and more, eMindful is offering complimentary 30-minute, live virtual mindfulness sessions to recognize World Mental Health Day. On Sunday, Oct. 10th, eMindful will offer mindfulness sessions that highlight the pillars of mental health in four different languages. (English, Spanish, French Canadian, and Mandarin.) For every minute you practice, eMindful will match and donate minutes of mindfulness to charities so members of those organizations and the populations they serve can also benefit from mindfulness. You don’t need an eMindful account to sign up, so feel free to share this event with family and friends. Here’s how to learn more and to register for the webinars in the following languages:

English: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5172310922342523405

French Canadian: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2042127761905194512

Spanish: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7357728821016220944

Mandarin: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/579882850079492880

Written by Kelly Barron