Tip 23 – Extract from “50 Tips to Beat Depression” available on Amazon.
There are many types of meditation and ways to meditate. Mindfulness meditation is a particular type of meditation which originated in the East and has been shown to be particularly helpful for those with depression and anxiety (Williams et al, 2007). It is especially helpful in enabling the individual to develop the ability to detach from negative or troublesome thoughts. Essentially, mindfulness teaches us to focus on our experiences moment by moment, without judging or getting caught up in inner dialogue. With practice we learn to become fully aware of what is happening in the moment, acknowledging sensations, emotions, impulses, thoughts and images, yet simply accepting them without trying to explain, rationalise or reason. Thoughts are just thoughts, and mindfulness teaches us to observe them just as we might observe a cloud passing in the sky. Here is a useful breathing mindfulness meditation to begin with.
One: Make yourself comfortable, sitting with your hands resting in your lap.
Two: Focus on your breathing and notice the gentle in and out of your breath.
Three: Focus your attention on the movement and sensation of the breathing process. Do not try to alter it, merely follow it.
Four: As you find your mind wandering (and it certainly will) simply bring it back to the breathing process and focus again on what is happening.
Five: Continue this for a few minutes; with practice, lengthen the time as you become more proficient. Some people find it helpful to meditate at the same time each day. You may find it useful to do so at a time when you are particularly troubled by negative or troublesome thoughts. Do not worry about your wandering mind, the key is catching yourself doing it and bringing your awareness back to your breathing. Remember, even the most experienced meditators have wandering minds and may have to bring their attention back many, many times.
Until next time.
With best wishes, Steve.
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Steve Clifford, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist