Mindfulness helps you be in the present moment. Instead of focusing on anxious or depressive thoughts, mindfulness erases these. Your focus can then be on the present moment. In the present, you have no anxiety or depression. Depressive thoughts come from thinking about the past. Anxious thoughts come from thinking about the future. Being in the present moment is where your mind can relax and only focus on what is in front of you now.
Benefits of Mindfulness on Depression and Anxiety
Mindfulness has many benefits of being in the present moment. It helps you to stop the cycle of depressive or anxious thoughts that your mind may be playing out. By focusing on the moment, it will be easier to overcome challenges. You can also better deal with issues head-on from a relaxed state of being. By relaxing while addressing issues, you can avoid making rash or uneducated decisions. With a calm mind, you can choose to take your time before making any decisions.
Two studies conducted show the benefits of mindfulness on depression and anxiety. In the first study, participants measured anxiety with a self-report instrument. It consisted of the severity of the fear. Participants would write down the number of times the participant felt anxious daily. Also, they would write down their thoughts about their nervousness. Participants received an intervention. It consisted of three-minutes of mindfulness twice a week.
In the second study, they used a standard measure of psychological well-being. It included the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). These measured participants' anxiety. Results indicated that participants who received mindfulness meditation benefited more. Those who participated in the intervention benefited more than those who did not.
In the second study, score changes using the BDI calculated the effects of mindfulness meditation on anxiety. The study examined the effect of a three-week mindfulness meditation intervention. At the end of the intervention, showed improvement in BDI scores, as compared to the control group. Moreover, they also showed a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiousness.
Participants also reported changes in depressive symptoms. The mindfulness intervention showed a significant improvement in these symptoms.
One of the most useful mindfulness meditations is to pay attention to how you are feeling. Also, what you are thinking, and awareness of your breathing. This meditation helps you to slow down and focus on the here and now.
- Shut off any distractions (cell phone, outside noises)
- Take a moment to breathe in and out for three breaths
- Notice the thoughts in your mind right now. What are you thinking about? What enters your mind without thinking about it? Write this down.
- Ask yourself: How am I feeling right now? Try to find a feeling. If you aren't sure, or can't identify the feeling, use the Feeling Wheel to identify your feeling.
- Notice your breath and how you are breathing. Is your breathing shallow? Are you breathing heavy? Try to slow down your breathing by taking three deep mindful breaths. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale.
- Ask yourself again: How am I feeling right now?
- Notice the thoughts in your mind again now after you've relaxed your breathing.