April 02, 2008

Meditation and reducing depression; MBCT

Scientists in Britain study meditation and its effects on the brain. (The government funds this?) The popular Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is discussed.

MBCT is recommended for people who are not currently depressed, but who have had three or more bouts of depression in their lives.

Trials suggest that the course reduces the likelihood of another attack of depression by over 50%.

The National Health Service pays for MBCT.

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MindfulnessTherapistOnline's picture

As mindfulness meditators and practitioners our mission is to awaken to reality as it is (dharma). This includes our depression, anxiety, negative emotions and other manifestations of dukkha, and our mission as a Buddhist meditator is to bring about the resolution of dukkha as outlined in the Four Noble Truths.
Awakening to depression is to have the courage to face it, embrace it with conscious awareness (awakening to it) and then investigate its dharma, its actual structure in the mind - thoughts, feelings, perceptions, physical sensations in the body and internal imagery. It is through awakening that the depression can begin to heal itself through continuing a natural process of change in thoughts, feelings, perceptions, physical sensations and imagery that is described as panna, the natural intuitive wisdom-intelligence innate within the mind and body that always moves in the direction of resolution and equilibrium (upekkha) when consciousness is present.

Shamash's picture

One of the amazing things about mindfulness and acceptance is that it changes the experience. Depression is a debilitating disease, and people are trying to avoid the experience at all cost. This act of avoidance, and fear around the experience of depression makes it worse. MBCT helps to break the cycle of depression partly through awareness and compassionate acceptance of moods as they arise.


Cathy Vaught's picture

I am confused by the goals of the study. I was under the impression that mindfulness had as a core principle of being OK with what you are mindful of while seeing the truth in it. If you are mindful of your depression, why would you be looking to reduce it? Doesn't mindfulness mean that you would understand depression to the point that you would see it as a part of spiritual growth? There is a great book called The Depression Advantage that is about spiritual growth and the role that depression can play in it. The website for it is www.depressionadvantage.com and it would be great if Tricycle would do an article about that.