Four mindfulness researchers and therapists have published a book called 'The Mindful Way through Depression', which offers guidance as to how to tackle depression and sadness with techniques used in mindfulness based therapies.
The Mindful Way through Depression: freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness
by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Guilford Press, 2007
Ever arrived at your destination without being truly aware of the experience of driving there? Looked down at an empty plate and wondered if you enjoyed the meal? Mindfulness is nothing more than tuning in to these events so we can experience the present in a more rich and meaningful way – as this book explains.
The four writers (all practicing therapists and research scientists), present a gentle, compassionate exploration of the way mindfulness techniques can help people with depression, called here, mostly, ‘chronic unhappiness’. They show how these techniques can enable us to aim our actions (and interactions) in a different direction. David Taylor, managing partner at The House Partnership, recommends it as ‘an enjoyable read’ and says he is ‘particularly impressed with the empowering messages throughout. I like the way the writers enhance our own ability to solve our problems and find help in communication with others.’
Mindfulness also tackles the way we can try to avoid negative feelings – and that can result in a numb experience preventing us from being in tune with more positive emotions. Says David Taylor, ‘in a sense, when we turn away from negative emotions, we’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.’
In fact, rather than treatment of depression, this book focuses on its prevention. Thankfully, our minds are malleable and trainable, so we are guided to think differently about negative emotions; it’s actually healthier to pay attention to them rather than run from them.
The writers make useful suggestions for ‘mindfulness in everyday life’, with memorable techniques that encourage routine small but frequent changes.
Says David, ‘I think the programme outlined in the book would benefit most people, but some may find they need more support – and in those cases, the book could be adopted as a salve for the unhappy dips so many people experience.’
Added value is a 77 minute CD presented inside the cover; this contains a series of narrations by one of the authors, presented as guided meditations in line with the themes of the book. Each one varies from just a few minutes long to almost half an hour, so you can choose the right length to suit your ‘moment’.
About the authors
Mark Williams is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the British Academy.
Zindel Segal, PhD, is the Morgan Firestone Chair in Psychotherapy at the University of Toronto and Head of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
John Teasdale, PhD, has held senior research appointments in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, and in the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as well as professor of medicine emeritus.