Unlock your Mind with Mindfulness: Say goodbye to depression & anxiety

Thoughts, feelings, and even our basic biology are constantly in a state of change. Eastern traditions terms this law of constant change: impermanence. Cells are changing every single minute. Our body is in a constant state of repair, replication and change. The same is true for our thoughts and feelings. They come and they go. They float in and they float out. This is impermanence, light and free.

It is only when something stops the stream or state of flow, that things get out of whack. This happens when we identify with the content of a thought, when we believe it is telling us something permanently true about who we are as a person- then we get into trouble. Dr. Steven Hayes calls this thought FUSION. In Fusion, there is no longer a separation or space between you and the thought, you are the thought. You are fused and you are f'd at this point (and yes, f'd is a clinical term). This is a point of entry for many of the mood disorders- anxiety and/or depression, as well as most forms of addiction, depending on your personal inclination.

Your feeling state does not make you personally right, wrong, weak, strong, good or bad, however in a state of Fusion, this is exactly what happens. For example, pretend the thought: "I can't do this" floats by. If I notice this thought for what it is: just a thought, then I can "catch it" and "release it" and the thought is free to continue swimming by, and another thought will swim through and so on and so on.

However, if I get "hooked" by identifying with the thought content by saying, "yes, that is me, this thought is me, this one is true, I can't do this... and...actually... in the past I could not do these other things and I can't do these things now either, I am incompetent, no one likes me ...", then the spiral begins. FUSION has occurred. The mind has gotten stuck in this content, "hooked" and a spiral has begun. Depression and anxiety are essentially states of thought fusion. You are locked in your mind and you cannot get out.

To stop this spiral from happening you can pull out the hook by increasing your awareness- practicing mindfulness meditation, mindfulness based psychotherapy and forming a different relationship with your thinking. Just as we can get hooked by identifying with the thought, we can also become hooked by fighting a thought or feeling (trying to push it down, deny it, or anesthetize). Either way, through identification or avoidance, you have engaged the thought/feeling state - gotten hooked- and it will usually stick around until you cut bait and gently let it flow through- detached.

Instead, practice the fisherman's wisdom, catch it and release it. Breathe in and Breathe out. A formal meditation practice and participation in mindfulness based psychotherapy can aid you in developing this power. You don't have to let your mind control you. You can make friends with the thought stream and fish in peace.