There is currently a lot of research being done in the field of mindfulness as it relates to psychology. Specifically, a new brand of therapy called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or MBCT has been increasing in popularity. It combines the effects of the well-researched and empirically supported field of cognitive psychology with this concept of mindfulness. Early research has supported this combination saying that it can be more effective than pure cognitive therapy.
MBCT has two components to it: mindfulness and cognitive therapy. The mindfulness element typically includes some mindful meditation exercises along with other mindfulness principles. These principles will focus on being present in the moment and being aware of one’s own body. The cognitive therapy aspect of MBCT refers to working to identify negative thinking styles and changing those patterns of thinking.
Research has shown that MBCT helps treat depression. A study of depressed patients found that MBCT was specifically helpful in patients who have experienced more than three depressive episodes in the past (Teasdale, 2000). In a different review of available research done by Hofmann in 2010 shows that there is a connection between MBCT and improved mood symptoms.
One thing to note is that if you are severely depressed, it may be challenging to begin practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness requires significant concentration, something that can be difficult when experiencing a depressive episode. If this is the case for you, it may be a good idea to focus on the cognitive aspect of therapy before trying to practice mindfulness.