The Mindful Way Through Depression – Mark Williams et al

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The Mindful Way Through Depression

This isn’t a recipe book nor is its main focus on eating.  I have, however, listed it in the book reviews as the tips and techniques included in the book will help you live and eat more mindfully.  In fact, I wrote one blog post called Paying Attention To A Piece Of Cod after reading this book.

The book has four authors, all of them leading professors in Psychotherapy or Medicine. Three of the writers are experts in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.  The fourth author – Jon Kabat-Zinn – is a professor of Medicine and a meditation instructor.  Although the book is aimed at people suffering or recovering from depression, it also helps anybody wanting to live a calmer and more peaceful life.  Mindfulness is not easy to learn but as the authors write in a such a compassionate and encouraging way you want to do the exercises just to please them!

The book starts by providing a conceptual framework about how and why we get depressed and compares various people’s experience of depression.   As I was reading the book I kept thinking to myself “oh yes – that’s me,” or “oh yes – I do that all the time!”  It then goes on to provide helpful tips and techniques to become more mindful and to break the self-defeating habits including different ways of meditating.  There are patterns in how we judge situations, and how the struggle to “make things better” tend to make things worse. The patterns then become entrenched habits. There is an alternative way which involves exploring rather than fixing and believing your thoughts are true. It involves observing what we think and feel rather than trying to correct it or thinking we are bad because of what we are thinking.

The book reminds me of how my thoughts are just thoughts and not facts. It also reminds that when I am not attending to my flow of thoughts and their never ending commentary, I can tumble down into the miserableness of depression.  Mindfulness helps me witness my thoughts and feelings without becoming too involved in them. It helps me realise that moods, pain and circumstances change and that difficult times do go away.   It helps bring about a greater acceptance of life and all that it involves. The messy, the sad, and the beautiful.  All of life is transient but at the same time we can live each moment bit by bit savouring it as we go about our day to day activities.

Find it:  The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

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