One of the strong benefits of meditation
generally has to do with, you know, the ordinary ways in which
we suffer depression, anxiety, the angst of life.
It turns out that meditation generally makes people feel more positively,
it helps diminish anxiety,
but it becomes particularly powerful when
it’s combined with a psychotherapy.
The way this usually done is
with mindfulness on the one hand
and what’s called cognitive therapy on the other.
Mindfulness allows us to shift our relationship to our experience.
Instead of getting sucked into our emotions or our thoughts,
which is what happens when we’re depressed or anxious,
we see them as “those thoughts again”
or “those feelings again,”
and that disempowers them.
There’s actually research at UCLA that shows
when you can name that feeling,
比如 “唉 抑郁又来了”
“Oh, I’m feeling depressed again.”
you have shifted the activity levels neurologically
in the part of the brain which is depressed
to the part of the brain which notices
which is aware—the prefrontal cortex.
And that diminishes the depression
and enhances your ability to be able to understand it
or to see it as just a feeling.
So if you combine that ability with cognitive therapy,
cognitive therapy helps you talk back to your thoughts.
The basic realization in cognitive therapy is
“I don’t have to believe my thoughts.”
This is extremely important in people
with chronic anxiety or chronic depression
because it’s our thoughts that trigger the anxiety,
that trigger the depression.
You know, the depressive thoughts are classic;
“ I’m no good; my life is worthless.” whatever it is.
Those thoughts actually make us depressed.
So if you use mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
一方面 你会想“唉 又是这种难过的感觉”
on the one hand you can see, “Oh, there’s that thought again.”
On the other hand cognitive therapy lets you talk back to that thought,
“ Oh I’m not so worthless, I’ve done some pretty good things in my life;
there are people who love me,” whatever it may be.
You can develop a habit of not letting those thoughts take you over,
but countering them with actual evidence from your life that says
“Oh they’re not true. I don’t have to believe them!”
And that is very relieving.
The first study that used mindfulness-based cognitive therapy with depression
it was pretty spectacular.
It was done at Oxford University
and it was done with people whose depression is so severe
电疗 药物 都毫无起色
that nothing helps, no medication helps, electric shock doesn’t help
medicine psychiatry doesn’t know what to do.
People get depressed very deeply,
they recover and then they get depressed again.
So with that group they use mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
and they found that it cut the rate of relapse (of having depression again) by 50 percent.
If this were a drug
some pharmaceutical company would be making billions of dollars,
but it’s not a drug.
It’s free basically.
So mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works very well for depression.
Better-designed studies afterwards shows that
it wasn’t 50 percent,
but still the impact is palpable
and it turns out that mindfulness and other meditations,
particularly combined with cognitive therapy
work just as well for anxiety or depression as the medications do,
but they don’t have those side effects.