How Mindfulness Can Help Improve Your Depression!
Updated: Jan 22
"Mindfulness is the cornerstone to depression management and recovery." - Candice Alston
What is Mindfulness?
Simply put mindfulness is to be conscious or aware of something. A large portion of managing depression and anxiety is being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors For instance, if you begin to having negative thoughts... what were you doing right before they started? What did you see or hear? Did a certain person come around? This is practicing mindfulness for depression. Another example (this happens to me a lot): You have been doing really well in therapy and feel like the antidepressants are helping. However, this week you are physically and mentally tired. Your mood is low and you've been eating crap stuff which hasn't been the norm in a while. First!! The fact you noticed these changes is because of mindfulness. You start thinking back and realize you've be going to sleep later than normal and waking up more throughout the night. You can now use this information to make the necessary changes to your nighttime routine. This is the practice of mindfulness for depression.
How can practicing mindfulness help depression?
Mindfulness is one of the greatest tools we can learn in our efforts to reduce depression and anxiety. As we just mentioned mindfulness can help us become aware of the causes and circumstance that drive our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Here are several other reasons you'll want to practice mindfulness for depression:
Mindfulness gives us the opprotunity to identify our triggers.
Mindfulness gives us the opprotunity to identify the causes of both negative and positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Mindfulness allows us to prepare and/or avoid the people, places, and things that can be triggering.
Mindfulness allows us to identify the things that bring us happiness (we’ll need those to cope on our bad days).
Mindfulness gives us the opprotunity to make better decisions
Mindfulness gives us the opprotunity to change unhealthy and toxic behaviors
Mindfulness allows us to successfully plan our days and weeks, reducing feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
Mindfulness helps prioritize our mental health and self-care
Mindfulness prevents us from spiraling into a host of negativity by helping us stay in the current moment.
Mindfulness can help retrain our brain.
Mindfulness will help you figure out your needs in moments of distress and uncomfortableness.
How can you start practicing mindfulness?
The same way I did…
Self-Check Ins: Set aside time to check in with yourself. Evaluate how you have been feeling? What would you like to work on? Whats troubling you lately? When’s the last time you had fun?
Ask Yourself Questions: If you are just trying mindfulness, I recommend getting into the habit of questioning yourself throughout the day when emotions arise. For instance, Why did I react like that? What emotion am I feeling right now? Why do I feel like this now? WTF whats causing these negative thought? I’m having back-to-back negative thought what was happening that could have triggered them? Even if you dont understand it completely.
Write it Down: Depression causes memory loss and brain fog. It can be easy to forget what you’ve discovered during yourself check ins or throughout your day. You can jot a note for later, journal your thoughts or write them in a list format! Download and print my free printable to help guide your self-check ins.
Focus on your initial reactions/instincts: If you are going through your day and feelings of frustration, overwhelm, or sadness arise take note. Specifically take note of what happened or your thoughts that occurred right before the feeling came. Was it a similar feeling you felt before? Was it something said, smelled, a tone, etc.
Identifying what was going on right before or the thoughts that occurred that could have triggered the negativity is essential. We need to know so we can further dive into those things later when time permits or hopefully with our therapist.
Don’t shy away from your initial reactions or instincts trying to make it okay. If something was hurtful, sad, or frustrating don’t dismiss those feelings. This avoidance will only lead to worsening depression.
It takes courage to be willing to dig deeper, ask yourself the uncomfortable questions, and answer honestly. Whether that truth is good, bad, or ugly. Remember mindfulness is a habit that takes time to develop but the more you practice the better you’ll get. Everyday you’ll learn more about yourself. This knowledge will be essential while working towards depression recovery. Growth will come and before you know it better days won’t seem so impossible!