Struggling with depression? Learn how mindfulness can help. Discover the benefits of mindfulness for depression and how to gain better clarity.

Mindfulness for Depression

February 12, 2023

Depression is a widespread mental health issue that affects millions of people globally. While medication and therapy can be an effective solution, many individuals seek alternative ways to manage their symptoms. One of these alternative approaches is mindfulness, a practice that has been proven to positively impact mental health and well-being.

In this guide, we will delve into the advantages of mindfulness for depression and guide you on how to incorporate it into your daily life. Whether you're new to mindfulness or looking to deepen your practice, this article will provide practical tips and advice to help you along the path to better mental health.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the art of being fully present and engaged in the moment. It involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment. While mindfulness is often associated with meditation, it can also be practiced through activities like walking, eating, or doing chores.

The Power of Mindfulness for Depression

Studies have shown that mindfulness can significantly impact depression and mental health. Some of the benefits of mindfulness for depression include:

  • Reduced anxiety and stress
  • Improved mood and emotional regulation
  • Increased resilience to depression and other mental health conditions
  • Enhanced sleep quality
  • Elevated feelings of calm and well-being
  • Heightened Immune Response 
  • Stronger relationship with self acceptance and trust
  • Lower blood pressure

Incorporating Mindfulness into Your Daily Routine

In 2016, an impressive study involving 1258 people with recurrent depression demonstrated that mindfulness-based treatment was a highly effective way of reducing the risk of them falling back into depression. This groundbreaking finding shows us how powerful and beneficial this type of therapy can be in helping individuals recover from difficult mental health challenges.

Interested in harnessing the power of mindfulness for depression?

A mindful way through depression is using or trying one or all of the following techniques:

1. Left Nostril Breathing

  • Place you devices on Do Not Disturb and have a timer near by.
  • Sit or lay down comfortably with your back straight.
  • Gently close your eyes. Take some nice deep breaths. Inhaling through the nose and exhale through the mouth with a big sigh out.
  • Take your right hand with your thumb and close your right nostril. Place your pointer and middle finger at the center of your forehead and begin to deeply inhale and exhale out of your left nostril for 3 minutes. Go at your own pace, deep and slow.
  • After 3 minutes begin to breathe normally out of both nostrils. 
  • Keep your eyes closed, and take another 3-5 minutes to focus on the center of your forehead, your third eye, and meditate being present in the moment of how you are feeling, and being aware of all your surroundings.

2. Left Nostril Breathing With Body Scan

  • Perform all of the Left Nostril Breathing steps until you reach the end of the 3 minutes. 
  • After you have completed 3 minutes, if you are not already, lay down completely with your spine and back straight.
  • Begin to breathe deeply, and pay attention to your breath.
  • Begin your body scan aware of any and all sensations, emotions, and thoughts associated with each part of your body
  • Start gazing your attention, and breathing into the top of your head. Being present in the moment, recognize how your head feels. Pay attention to your ears, your lips, your cheeks, your teeth, your tongue, everything. Breathe into each part of your body.
  • If any thoughts come up, or your mind begins to wander this is okay. Without judgment, let the thoughts pass, and come back to your breath. Be the observer and not the participant. 
  • As you continue to lay down, breathe into, and pay attention to each section, body part, and organ of your body. Giving yourself the permission to be mindful in how you feel and your what notice is happening in your body. Do you notice anything feeling cold, light, hot, heavy, warm, tight? Just observe without judgment.

3. Khechari Mudra

  • Roll your tongue upward as if you are trying to get the tongue into nasal cavity at the back of your throat. This may feel awkward at first, but its almost like you are swallowing your tongue.
  • Make sure the back of your tongue is touching the upper surface of the soft palate.
  • Keep your tongue stretched without any strain from your throat
  • Once you get your tongue situated just right, close your mouth completely with your face keeping a normal relaxed look.
  • Gently close your eyes, and put your gaze to the center of your forehead, your third eye. 
  • Meditate here breathing long and deep for 3-5 minutes.

When first starting, it may be difficult to hold your tongue in place for long periods of time. Start small, and if you tongue comes down to release, simply roll it back up.; increase with practice. As you continue to practice, it will be easier to maintain the tongue lock.

Khechari comes from yogi traditions and holds many benefits that will aid within depression, anger, achieving a positive outlook, and gears you towards peace and calmness. The more you practice, the deeper you will go.

4. Mindful Thoughts

  • Turn off all distractions, place your phone in Do Not Disturb mode, and have a timer set for 7-10 minutes.
  • Sit up in a chair or cross legged on the floor with your spine up straight, having a slight chin lock. If you are in a chair, ensure your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Gently close your eyes
  • Bring your awareness to your breath. Place one hand on your chest and another on your stomach. Notice how your belly feels while inhaling and it fills your belly, and on your exhale your chest lowers and your belly deflates. If it does not feel like this, adjust your breathing to match. Repeat this for 1-2 minutes with slow, deep breaths.
  • Remove your hands; continue to keep your eyes closed, breathing slowly and deep.
  • Slowly allow yourself to notice any thoughts that come into your mind while being conscious of your breathing.
  • Take notice of these thoughts and do not judge anything that comes through your mind. No matter how hard it may seem. Just allow the thoughts to pass with your breath.
  • If you begin to engage within the thoughts, change your mindset to be an observer of the thoughts and not a participant. 
  • Journal and self reflect your experience within a journal.

5. Mindful Meditation to Get out Of Depression

This technique is based from Yogi Bhanjan's Kundalini Yoga teachings in 1979. Keep in mind, with more practice this will become easier, and you will go deeper shower lasting and long term benefits. If you like this technique, try it for 11, 22, or even 40 days in a row and document your experience.

  • Turn off all distractions, place your phone in Do Not Disturb mode, and have a timer set somewhere between 3-5 minutes.
  • Sit up in a chair or cross legged on the floor with your spine up straight, having a slight chin lock. If you are in a chair, ensure your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Extend your arms straight ahead parallel to the ground
  • Close the right hand creating a fist
  • With your left hand wrap your fingers around your right fisted hand with the base of your palms touching.
  • Have your thumbs touching and pulled straight
  • Have your eyes focus on your thumbs
  • Breathing slowly and deeply, inhale for 5 seconds and without holding your breath, exhale for 5 seconds and hold the breath out for 15 seconds.
  • Continue this cycle for the continue length of time working your way up to 11 minutes with continued practice.

Mindfulness Backed By Science: Hope for Depression

Other research has found that when faced with sadness, those who regularly meditate are better equipped to handle it because of the way their brain responds. A study from 2010 showed that these experienced mindful practitioners used a part of the brain called the “present moment network” allowing them to absorb and fully feel this emotion without becoming caught up in worrying thoughts. While non-meditators turned towards an "evaluation network" leading them down paths like questioning why they felt sad or what was wrong with them - causing additional distress beyond just feeling any existing sorrows. So make sure you take some time daily for mindfulness practice; not only will your mental health thank you today but so will for your future self and generations to come.

Tips For A Successful Mindfulness Practice

  • Start small: You don't have to dedicate hours every day to mindfulness. Begin with just a few minutes each day and gradually increase the time you spend practicing.
  • Consider your normal routine: Really think about your schedule and routine. What do you do every day that is within your routine. Is it walking your dog? Taking 10 minutes in the bathroom on the toilet? Drinking that morning coffee and cross word? Sewing or knitting? Practice yoga? Walking? No matter what you do during your normal routine, you can either incorporate mindfulness within that routine by being mindful in the moments and present with all your senses, or take away some of that time from your normal routine, and add 3-5 minutes for something new. 
  • Find a quiet space: Locate a quiet place where you won't be disturbed and allow yourself to focus solely on your mindfulness practice.
  • Focus on your breath: Pay attention to your breath and be fully present in the moment as much as possible.
  • Practice being an observer: Depression is tough and can take a toll on you even feeling... Well, anything. If you find yourself in those moments of not feeling anything. Take a motive to practice being an observer around your environment. Notice what is around you. The textures you feel, the scents you smell, the weight of your body, the way your neck is placed, if your spine is straight or slouched, the way your feet feel, how your breath, the sound of your own breath. You the more your practice being an observer in every day life, even while feeling low or nothing, the more you will go with healing yourself. 
  • Give it time: Mindfulness is not a race, yet a marathon. It takes time and practice, and self discipline and shedding of old layers than no longer serve you no matter how far back they go. 
  • Celebrate each victory: Any type of "win" you have. Celebrate it! Even if this means, you had a busy day and took 2 minutes of your lunch break to breathe deeply and focus all your attention on your body and how it feels before going back into the grind. This is a celebration!
  • Journal and document your thoughts and feelings: Depression is so hard, especially when you feel like you have no one to talk to. Sometimes before doing anything related to mindfulness it can be beneficial to brain dump what is going on in your head to just get that junk out of there. This can be anything from self sabotaging thoughts, fear, anxious feelings of what is to come, feeling remorse of a situation that just happened, double guessing yourself - You name it. Treat your journal as a sanctuary without judgment.


What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

Mindfulness is a state of being fully present in the moment, while meditation is a practice that helps you attain mindfulness. Meditation is one way to practice mindfulness, but not the only way.

Can Mindfulness help with depression?

Yes. Studies and research have backed up the act of mindfulness can decrease depression and other emotional states associated with depression.

How long does it take to see the benefits of mindfulness for depression?

The benefits of mindfulness can be seen in as little as a few weeks, but full benefits may take several months to materialize. The key is to practice regularly and be patient with yourself as you work towards better mental health.

Can mindfulness replace medication or therapy for depression?

No, mindfulness should not be used as a replacement for medication or therapy. It can complement these treatments and enhance their effectiveness, but it's crucial to consult with a mental health professional to determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs.

How long should I practice Mindfulness for?

Mindfulness is a lifelong practice. So, take your time and see what resonates the most to do, with your body, and how you feel. Each emotional state may require a different type of mindfulness practice. 


Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can have a profound impact on your well-being and mental health, especially if you are struggling with depression. The key to seeing the benefits of mindfulness is to practice regularly and be patient with yourself. Remember to start small, find a quiet space, and focus on your breath to help you fully immerse yourself in the moment.

Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and stress, improve your mood and emotional regulation, increase your resilience to depression and other mental health conditions, improve your sleep quality, and increase feelings of calm and well-being. While mindfulness should not replace medication or therapy, it can be used in conjunction with these treatments to enhance their effectiveness.

About the author 

Kylie Green

Blogger for Mindfulrevelations
Kylie Green was born and raised just outside New York City. Kylie values being present and at the moment because life is short. If she isn’t spending time with her friends and family, you can almost always find her meditating outside in nature. Mindfulrevelations is her passion project and wishes to fulfill her dream of building a spiritually-driven community.

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