Mindfulness for stress, anxiety or depression *Updated 2021*
Updated: Jan 14
The chances are, that if you've come to see us at the surgery and have suffered from work stress, anxiety or depression, we will have mentioned Mindfulness treatment at some point. The aim of this blog is to point you in the right direction so that you can learn a little more about Mindfulness, how it can help you and how to do it. Depression, anxiety and stress are some of the most common conditions we see and we've been astonished at the effectiveness of Mindfulness in helping some people to get better (and to stay well when they've recovered). Mindfulness treatment is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Effectiveness (NICE) and is an NHS recommended treatment for a number of mental health conditions - as well as being useful for people who are "well" but struggling with stress at work or at home.
To whet your appetite, here's a 12 minute item on Mindfulness from BBC Breakfast, with Dr Danny Penman
If you'd like to know about Mindfulness in a little more detail, here's Professor Mark Williams, emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University giving a more detailed overview. Put the kettle on and give yourself a little time to watch this because Prof Williams' talk is an hour long, but it's worth it. He's an excellent speaker and the talk is aimed at members of the general public, so it's free of any medical jargon. We've put 2 videos here for you. The first is about the use of mindfulness in the management of depression. The second talk covers the use of mindfulness in anxiety.
Mindfulness in the management of depression:
In the following talk, Professor Williams talks about the application of Mindfulness in the management of anxiety:
If you'd like to start doing Mindfulness, you can either do it alone (and we'd recommend Professor Williams & Dr Danny Penman's excellent self help book, which follows an 8 week Mindfulness course) or there are a number of local Mindfulness classes where you can join a group session. Mindfulness classes are often held in Bridgend, Llantrisant Leisure Centre and Pontypridd - check local press for details.
You'll be amazed at the results. It's not for everyone and it's not a "quick fix" but people who practice mindfulness report reduced stress levels, better sleep and concentration levels and it can help to reduce relapse of depression or anxiety in patients who are recovering from these conditions.
Prof Williams and Dr Danny Penman's book "A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world" can be bought in traditional paper format from Amazon. We'd recommend getting the version with attached CD because Prof Williams narrates a number of Mindfulness exercises on the CD and it's much easier to do this guided by Prof Williams' voice than to try and follow printed instructions.
Alternatively, the book can be downloaded from Apple iBooks or Google store. The downloadable versions are best because you can read them and play the exercises through headphones on your phone or tablet wherever you are.
A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world - Apple iBooks (for iPad/iPhone)
A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world - Google store (Android)
A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world - Amazon books
Check the reviews for this book. Our patients have reported equally glowing feedback to us as well and this book comes highly recommended (and it's not just us - it features on the NHS recommended reading list for patients with certain mental health problems).
Public Health Wales have developed an extremely good free online course called "ACTivate your life" devised by Dr Neil Frude. It's common when you feel anxious or low to have muddled thinking and difficulty concentrating, so you may not feel up to tackling the full course, but you may find it helpful to have a look around to see what's on offer.
This course uses a multitude of media, including a free mindfulness podcast which lasts 25 minutes and a video overview of Mindfulness
Other useful links and references:
We hope you've found this information useful, but if you're finding life overwhelming at the moment or struggling with anxiety or depression, remember that we're here to help you and happy to see you in surgery as well. Take care.