From “Anxiety? Banish the Thought,” The Week Magazine: Health & Science, Jan. 20, 2011:
So many Americans suffer from anxiety and depression that antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft have become household terms. But new research suggests that mindfulness therapy—a meditation-based treatment with roots in Buddhism and yoga—can help people with mood disorders feel better without drugs.
Yet after reviewing 39 studies on the practice involving 1,140 patients, Hofmann’s team concluded that mindfulness therapy relieved anxiety and improved mood; another study published last month found the treatment is as effective as antidepressants at preventing relapses of depression.
It doesn’t work for everyone, but experts have found that training patients to observe their own immediate thoughts can often loosen the grip emotions have on their minds—MRI scans of patients’ brains display shifts in mental activity.
Jordan Elliott, a 26-year-old marketer, began mindfulness therapy for debilitating anxiety four years ago; he now meditates for 10 minutes each morning and has stopped taking Prozac. “When a negative thought pops off in my head,” he says, “I say to myself, ‘There’s a thought. And feelings aren’t facts.’”
* * * * *
- “Depression and Anxiety are visitors. They are not your true nature.” ~ Amita Schmidt, from Mindfulness for Depression
- Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
- The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias & Worry Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy by John Forsyth and George Eifert
- A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl, Ph.D. and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
- The Mindful Path through Worry and Rumination: Letting Go of Anxious and Depressive Thoughts by Sameet Kumar, Ph.D.
- The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Your Mind from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, Ph.D. et al.