A study has found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy helps to encourage self-kindness in individuals who have a history of depression, thus placing them in a state of relaxation and safety. The study suggests that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may help break the highly critical thought cycle and worthlessness feelings, which often result in depression relapse.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Individuals treated with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy demonstrated a pattern of self-kindness, together with reduced body threat responses, and a state of relaxation and safety that’s of importance for regeneration and healing.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a group-based psychological treatment that’s effective in helping individuals change how they are feeling and thinking about their experiences and to master skills that help with reducing the chances of further depressive episodes.
Prior research has found that recurrent depression sufferers especially benefit from mindfulness-based cognitive therapy when they learn to become more self-compassionate. This increase in self-compassion is understood to be the ability to experience self-kindness in times of stress.
The researchers examined 50 individuals who were in depression remission and at risk for a relapse in depression. Half of them were tested before and after an 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy treatment and compared with the other 25 individuals with recurrent depression who did not receive the treatment but participated in self-compassion meditation.
In comparison, the control group not receiving the treatment exhibited body responses suggestive of a more negative response to the self-compassion meditation when they participated in it a 2nd time. The study builds on the researcher’s earlier work that determined that a brief exercise of self-compassion can temporarily set in motion a pattern of feeling safe self- and kindness in healthy people.
The researchers discovered that the self-compassion exercise on its own wasn’t adequate enough for producing the feeling of safety and that the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was effective in doing so.
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