Mindfulness as effective as pills for treating recurrent depression

April 21, 2015

wildmind meditation newsThe Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, with Jon Kabat-Zinn and others Sarah Boseley, The Guardian: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be as good as pills at stopping people relapsing after recovering from major bouts of depression, according to a study.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed from mindfulness techniques, which encourage individuals to pay more attention to the present moment, combined with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), specifically to try to help people who have recurring depression.

It teaches people to recognise that negative thoughts and feelings will return, but that they can disengage from them. Rather …

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The mindfulness boom and its modern misconceptions

September 25, 2014

wildmind meditation newsWorldcrunch: Invented by Buddhist monks, secularized and developed by Western science, mindfulness seems to be everywhere. But the aim is to make the most of life, not to seek nirvana.

In 1979, a stressed-out molecular biologist took a Buddhist meditation technique, removed its mysticism, and transplanted it to an American university hospital. This is how mindfulness was born, in the University of Massachusetts Boston, instigated by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.

The discipline then made its way into the medical world, where — according to scientific studies — it proved to be particularly effective to prevent depression relapses and to handle anxiety disorders. Incubation, blooming, booming. …

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My broken leg healed in half the time…all because I meditated

Danny Penman: Meditation is often touted as a panacea for all manner of ailments, from chronic pain to anxiety, stress and even depression.

Like most sensible people, I’d always taken such sweeping claims with a large pinch of salt. However, five years ago I learned the power of meditation for myself after an accident left me critically injured and in constant pain.

A freak gust of wind caught me off-guard as I was paragliding over the Cotswolds. One moment my paraglider was flying normally, the next its wing had collapsed, sending me tumbling into the hillside 30ft below.
I was struck with the most agonising pain imaginable. The bone in the lower half of my … Read more »

Life could be like a box of chocolates

Genevieve Fox: Mindfulness is hip. It’s as trendy as yoga or zone-eating. No surprises, then, that when I enter the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC), I see dawn-red soft furnishings, green plants, rubber mats and kneeling stools. Wellbeing gurus would feel right at home.

So would chocolate lovers. Mark Williams, clinical psychologist and the Centre’s director, suggests the best way to understand mindfulness is to try it and invites me to join him in a “chocolate meditation”.

Mindfulness, he says, is about being present in the moment, being aware of our thoughts and feelings – so that instead of being overwhelmed by them we are better able to manage them. Using meditation and other techniques such … Read more »

Mindfulness meditation improves well-being, researchers report

January 30, 2011

Sit down. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Observe your thoughts objectively as if you were a scientist.

There, you’ve achieved it: mindfulness, a heightened awareness and acceptance of the present moment without judgment.

As simple as it seems, mindfulness, with its origins in the 2,500-year-old Buddhist practices of meditation and yoga, has become the latest buzzword in wellness, as study after study confirms its power to relieve anxiety and improve mood when combined with Western therapies.

Last month University of Toronto researchers reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, which mixes mindfulness meditation with cognitive behavioral therapy, is as effective as antidepressants for preventing relapses in depression.

Dr. Zindel … Read more »

Stressed out? Try mindfulness meditation (Toronto Globe & Mail)

January 10, 2011

Zindel Segal was in a Toronto bookstore a few weeks ago, when a title caught his eye. The book, The Mindful Investor, caused him a moment of shock and panic.

“I turned to someone and said, ‘This is the beginning of the end,’ ” recalls Dr. Segal, who heads the cognitive behaviour therapy clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The book, which purports to explain how a calm mind can help a person achieve financial security, is a sign that the concept of mindfulness is making a leap into mass popularity. But that doesn’t mean people actually understand it, he says.

Mindfulness is a technique for slowing down and examining one’s … Read more »

Mindfulness therapy is no fad, experts say (LA Times)

January 8, 2011

There is solid evidence that mindfulness therapy, which combines elements of Buddhism and yoga, can relieve anxiety and improve mood.

Of all fields of medicine, psychology seems especially prone to fads. Freudian dream analysis, recovered memory therapy, eye movement desensitization for trauma — lots of once-hot psychological theories and treatments eventually fizzled.

Now along comes mindfulness therapy, a meditation-based treatment with foundations in Buddhism and yoga that’s taking off in private practices and university psychology departments across the country.

“Mindfulness has become a buzzword, especially with younger therapists,” said Stefan Hofmann, a professor of psychology at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.

Mindfulness therapy encourages patients to focus on their breathing and their … Read more »

Mindfulness therapy beats drugs in preventing depression relapse

December 8, 2010

Mindfulness therapy — in the form known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)– demonstrates greater efficacy than antidepressant medications for the prevention of a depression relapse, according to new data.

MBCT combines the use of tried-and-true cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques with greater focus on self-awareness and self-reflection.

In the current study, the researchers describe how they implemented mindfulness-based therapy: “This is accomplished through daily homework exercises featuring (1) guided (taped) awareness exercises directed at increasing moment-by-moment nonjudgmental awareness of bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings; (2) accepting difficulties with a stance of self-compassion; and (3) developing an ‘action plan’ composed of strategies for responding to early warning signs of relapse/recurrence.”

Researchers led by Zindel Segal, Ph.D., of … Read more »

Meditation reduces the emotional impact of pain, making it easier to bear

People who meditate regularly find it easier to cope with pain because their brains anticipate it less, a study has found.

The findings could help develop new treatments from those who suffer from conditions that cause chronic pain.

Scientists from Manchester University compared non-meditators with a group who had meditated. Although they had varying levels of experience they had all tried mindfulness meditation, which seeks to anchor the person in the present.

Brain scans revealed that the most advanced meditators were the least likely to anticipate pain induced by a laser device, which made the experience more bearable.

Lead researcher Dr Christopher Brown, said: ‘Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to treat chronic … Read more »

Free your mind

I meet Andy Puddicombe, meditation guru to Premier League footballers, cabinet ministers and leading actors, in a sparsely decorated room in a London clinic. It’s the sort of place you go to discuss bunions, not the meaning of life. Yet Puddicombe is soon imparting wisdom gleaned from several years as a Buddhist monk, and guiding me through a meditation. The meditation lasts for only 10 minutes, and during it I find my mind meandering through my to-do lists, yet, when I open my eyes, I feel calm and focused – as if the insides of my head have been spring-cleaned.

Over the years, a body of research has built up extolling the many benefits of … Read more »