Why mindfulness can help your battles with depression, anxiety and pain

When you’re in the present moment – and by that I mean concentrating your mind on what’s going on right now – you simply cannot ruminate on the past or worry about the future.
Try it – concentrate on your breath going in and out of your body, concentrate on your feet as you walk along, concentrate on how your eyes feel.
Just concentrate on anything that is happening right now in this present moment.
Pick a sense, an area of your body. Anything. And see how it feels right now.
If you can worry or think at the same time, you’re a genius. Because no-one else can do both at the same time.
I guarantee during this experiment you will get distracted and start thinking – but then you won’t be experiencing the present moment any more. You’ll be planning, worrying or thinking.
And once you realise you’ve moved from the present moment, just go back to what you were concentrating on before you got hijacked by your thoughts.
This is mindfulness practice – and I’ll now tell you why it’s fabulous respite if you suffer from depression, anxiety, physical pain or other debilitating conditions that make your life a misery.
Being 100% aware of your physical pain or how utterly depressed you are makes you realise these things are always changing.
It just gets you to realise that saying ‘I’m depressed’ or ‘My back is killing’ is actually inaccurate.
This description may be true in some moments (obviously more moments than you would like).
But it’s not accurate for other moments when you’re not actually depressed or in awful pain.
During these other moments you could be angry, happy, riveted, bored, resentful, furious, delighted, in pain elsewhere in your body.
But you’re not actually depressed, anxious or in pain in those moments. You’re not depressed all the time. The same goes for anxiety. The same goes for acute pain in a particular part of your body.
So mindfulness is really just a method of revealing to your brain that labels are often unhelpful because they freeze things in time – when actually our feelings, emotions and physical sensations are always changing.
Even the way we feel about our loved ones is always changing if you take a bit of time to reflect on this.
Mindfulness is nothing more and nothing less than training your mind to see the world as it is in this present moment – without overlaying your present reality with assumptions about who you are and what you’re suffering from.
Nothing is permanent.
And thankfully this goes for the bad stuff as well as the good stuff.
That’s why mindfulness can unstick depression, anxiety and physical pain. It makes you realise that none of these things are true all the time – and that we have lots of other things going on.
The more you’re aware of what’s going on in the present moment, the more you realise the range of moods and bodily sensations you actually experience. And the less likely you are to label yourself as permanently and always 100% 24/7 having a specific pain in a specific area or thinking a particular thought that makes you a particular kind of angry, worried or resentful.
Things are changing all the time, and to label yourself as x, y or z ignores a huge amount of your experience.
Why not give it a go?
Training your mind takes a few minutes a day – and it’s an amazing experience to realise you’re not as one-dimensional as you thought.
How mindfulness can make us all a bit happier

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6 thoughts on “Why mindfulness can help your battles with depression, anxiety and pain

  1. Andrea376

    Past has nostalgic and future is skeptic so I guess the time is ‘Now’ 🙂
    Thanks for sharing that insightful post on mindfulness. I was actually trying to feel my sense and it was peaceful. I have to learn a lot regarding living in the present and control emotions. This will be a great help, Glad reading!

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    1. Simon Henry Post author

      Very pleased it may help Andrea! You’re not alone – lots of us need to work on controlling our emotions and living in the present. From everything I’ve tried, I think Mindfulness offers a wonderful opportunity to train the mind – especially when it’s taking us to places we don’t want to go.
      Good luck! And thank you again for your lovely kind comment.

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  2. Matthew Henson

    Mindfulness can be found in unexpected ways. In the last year I have spent a lot of time practicing Pilates (an exercise system) and Feldenkrais Method (a way of learning about movement) both of which require sustained concentration. As you said in another post: it doesn’t have to be breathing you focus on. I have noticed how my capacity to concentrate and get absorbed has improved. It’s good for work – I get more done and am less bothered by stress. There’s one aspect of the experience I find odd: I don’t feel ‘great, new way to manage my attention’ as much as ‘this was always available, clearly better, delighted to have noticed at last’.

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    1. Simon Henry Post author

      That’s so inspiring, Matthew. Thank you for taking the time to describe your experiences. I agree it’s not a eureka thing. It’s simply uncovering a truth we’ve always known but been too busy to bother noticing. Thank you again.

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  3. Pingback: Zen and the art of moustache maintenance: 6 ways to keep calm in Movember | Humour me: Smile, laugh, giggle, wet yourself with Simon Henry – simlington

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