Cultivating Mindful Awareness - Transforming Depression and Anxiety | Befriending Emotions

Lee Lipp, Ph.D.

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Forbes Magazine: September 2011

Eat, Smoke, Meditate: Why Your Brain Cares How You Cope “…mind wandering is linked to activation of network of brain cells called the default mode network (DMN), which is active not when we’re doing high-level processing, but when we’re drifting about in “self-referential” thoughts (read: when our brain is flitting from one life-worry to the next)…..Meditation is an interesting method for increasing one’s sense of happiness because not only has it stood the test of time, but it’s also been tested quite extensively in the lab. Part of the effect of mindfulness meditation is to quiet the mind by acknowledging non-judgmentally and then relinquishing (rather than obsessing about) unhappy or stress-inducing thoughts…”, Alice B.Walton.

Shambhala Sun: Included in January 2010 issue as excerpted from a previous issue

How to do Mindfulness Meditation “Mindfulness practice is simple and completely feasible. Just by sitting and doing nothing, we are doing a tremendous amount.”
 In mindfulness, or shamatha, meditation, we are trying to achieve a mind that is stable and calm. What we begin to discover is that this calmness or harmony is a natural aspect of the mind. Through mindfulness practice we are just developing and strengthening it, and eventually we are able to remain peacefully in our mind without struggling. Our mind naturally feels content.


An important point is that when we are in a mindful state, there is still intelligence. It’s not as if we blank out. Sometimes people think that a person who is in deep meditation doesn’t know what’s going on—that it’s like being asleep. In fact, there are meditative states where you deny sense perceptions their function, but this is not the accomplishment of shamatha practice. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Shambhala Sun, January 2010. www.shambhalasun.com

The Atlantic: June 2009


What Makes Us Happy Is there a formula — some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation — for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition — and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant. Read the whole article: The Atlantic

ScienceDaily: April 2009


Meditation Provides Hope For People With Depression People with severe and recurrent depression could benefit from a new form of therapy that combines ancient forms of meditation with modern cognitive behaviour therapy, early-stage research by Oxford University psychologists suggests.

Psychology Today Magazine: Nov/Dec 2008

The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment We live in the age of distraction. Yet one of life’s sharpest paradoxes is that your brightest future hinges on your ability to pay attention to the present. Article ID: 4696

Shambhala Sun: March 2008
Mindfulness of Mind

Dispassionately observing what goes on in our mind is one of Buddhism’s central practices. As Michael Stroud reports, the technique is being used to work with a variety of mental health problems, including depression. Twenty-three years ago, during a weeklong Zen retreat in Taiwan, I entered a depression so profound I wondered if I would ever emerge. It took nine months of intensive psychotherapy to recover, and when I was done, I had left Taiwan, my fiancée, and my meditation practice…..In the decades since, I’ve benefited from new talk therapies and medicines designed to short-circuit depression. And to my surprise, I’ve also found that meditation—gingerly restarted after years of abandonment—has played an essential role in my mind’s healing….I’m hardly alone in that discovery. A growing number of researchers and clinicians, many drawing from their own Buddhist practice, are exploring how meditation can be used to treat depression, anxiety, ADHD, drug and alcohol abuse, personality disorders, even sexual dysfunction. Michael Stroud. www.shambhalasun.com


Archives of Women’s Mental Health: Published online 3 March 2008


Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention during pregnancy on prenatal stress and mood: results of a pilot study. The results suggest that mindfulness training during pregnancy resulted in a significantly greater decline in anxiety and negative affect among participants in the mindfulness intervention when compared with a group that did not receive mindfulness training. C. Vieten, J. Astin
California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, San Francisco, California, U.S.A. www.cpmc.org/professionals/research/programs/behavioral/mmp.pdf

Psychotherapy Networker: January/February 2008
Mindful Recovery from Depression

Mindfulness isn’t a skill that comes naturally. If you want to anchor your attention to what’s happening in the present moment, you must actively engage your mind’s natural tendency to fly all over the place. At the heart of mindfulness lies, not a desire to suppress this inner restlessness, but a nonjudgmental curiosity about it, and a willingness to simply observe it as it happens. Making friends with our attention–not beating it (and ourselves) up when it drifts from its intended focus–helps teach us how to deal with other deviations from perfection in ourselves and others. When we’re berating ourselves for falling short of our own expectations, mindfulness practice teaches us to bring the same type of gentle awareness to these self-denigrating thoughts and feelings in our everyday lives. Finding Daylight: Mindful Recovery from Depression, Zindel Siegal. www.psychotherapynetworker.org/

Shambhala Sun: March 2003

The Lama in the Lab

Daniel Goleman reports on the Dalai Lama and the dialogue between science and Buddhism,
especially on how neuroscientists are measuring the effects of meditation. Daniel Goleman, Shambhala Sun, March 2003. www.shambhalasun.com