A new study suggests that mindfulness can have a positive impact in dealing with a variety of mental health problems.
The biggest review of the practice yet to be carried out was conducted by researchers at Oxford University.
And scientists discovered that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could help to combat depression as effectively as drugs.
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre, the department of psychiatry at the world-famous university, had previously released research which indicated that MBCT can reduce the risk of relapse into depression by 44%.
This latest piece of research is indicative of the beliefs of many physicians that a wide range of possible approaches should be utilised in tackling depression and other mental health difficulties.
Recounting her experience of mindfulness treatment, Gina Rose, 51, from Basingstoke, who attended an MBCT course through the NHS, suggested that it had been a positive influence over her general mood.
“Mindfulness didn’t take away these feelings completely, but it made them not overwhelming. Over time, as I saw thoughts arise I acknowledged them and worked on self-compassion for having them in the first place. All this meant was that I didn’t end up feeling like death whenever depression came knocking.”
Mental health issues are increasingly debilitating in the United Kingdom, with recent evidence having emerged that the government and NHS is failing to treat them with the same seriousness as a physical ailment, despite having pledged to do so.
25% of people in the UK will experience some form of mental health problem each year, which means that the issue far outranks any other health ailments in terms of occurrence.
Furthermore, one in four (26%) young people in the UK experience suicidal thoughts, while ChildLine (UK) has revealed that it held 34,517 counselling sessions in 2013/14 with children who talked about suicide; a 116% increase since 2010/11.
While these are worrying statistics, they could also indicates that people are becoming more aware of the importance of managing mental health, and more willing to come forward and concede that they have a problem.
This is indicative of a sea change in the treatment of mental health problems, and the attitude towards mindfulness is also a positive trend.
Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for just a few weeks, can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits.
It has even been demonstrated that mindfulness helps health care professionals cope with stress, connect with their patients, and improve their general quality of life.
The technique also helps mental health professionals by reducing negative emotions and anxiety, and increasing their positive emotions and feelings of self-compassion.