Research studies are suggesting that in addition to conventional therapies (such as medication etc.) help may be available for run-away thoughts and depressive ruminations through mind-body based techniques such as mindfulness. Mindfulness is an intentional capacity to pay attention to the present moment without any judgement.
In depressive disorder, it is the repetitive ruminations which hikes someone’s risk of sinking back into full blown depressive episode again. With every incident of relapse, the possibility of next relapse goes up by 15-18%. It is within this context that mindfulness could be helpful: if we can teach someone to simply watch and observe all those thoughts with deliberate detachment, we equip them with a powerful tool to short-circuit the automatic spider-webbing of thought patterns, the likely risk factor in relapse. This is how mindfulness practice may likely help prevent the next relapse. And a growing body of research suggests that mindfulness practice may be an effective adjunctive therapy in depression.
For example, a research study published in a prestigious journal Lancet in 2015 pointed out that mindfulness is equally effective as maintenance therapy when compared to conventional treatment with anti-depressants. Another recent meta-analysis and systematic review published in the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology (2017) indicated that, “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared to usual care, produces a significant and moderate reduction in rumination. This effect seems independent of the treatment phase (acute or maintenance) or the number of past depressive episodes, and it was maintained one month after the end of treatment.”
Even though it is very challenging to work with automatic rumination, however, with practice and dedication we can come close to reigning our thoughts. If you know someone who has been struggling through these challenges, and would like some additional support in terms of learning skills to help them with their run-away thoughts, mindfulness training may be helpful.
Ask that friend or family to get in touch with us. I am happy to have a conversation.