How Does Mindfulness Reduce Depression? An Interview with John Teasdale

How does being aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it help with depression?



There are a number of ways in which being mindfully aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it can help with depression.

Depression is often kept going, from one moment to the next, by streams of negative thoughts going through the mind (such as “My life is a mess,” “What’s wrong with me?” “I don’t think I can go on”). Redirecting attention away from these ruminative thought streams by becoming really aware of what we’re doing while we’re doing it can “starve” the thought streams of the attention they need to keep going. That way, we “pull the plug” on what is keeping us depressed, and our mood can begin to improve.


John D. Teasdale Ph.D. was a leading researcher at Oxford University, and then in the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. Teasdale was a pioneer in the cognitive therapy advancements in the United Kingdom. He was one of the founders of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, MBCT
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