Book Review: ‘The Mindful Way Through Depression’ by Mark Williams

“Get out of our heads and learn to experience the world directly, experientially, without the relentless commentary of our thoughts,” writes Mark Williams, co-author of The Mindful Way Through Depression. “We might just open ourselves up to the limitless possibilities for happiness that life has to offer us.”

The World Health Organization reports, “Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.” With depression affecting so many people around the world, there are innumerable resources for those battling this condition. One of those is Williams’ 2007 The Mindful Way Through Depression. Williams is joined by three other experts: John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kobat-Zinn.

Breaking habits that cause despair

According to GoodReads, “This authoritative, easy-to-use self-help program is based on methods clinically proven to reduce the recurrence of chronic unhappiness. Informative chapters reveal the hidden psychological mechanisms that cause depression and demonstrate powerful ways to strengthen your resilience in the face of life’s misfortunes.”  Ultimately, those who read The Mindful Way Through Depression learn how to break the habits that cause despair and feelings of chronic unhappiness. Readers discover in this book that the usual methods for busting the blues sometimes result in more depressive feelings.

Embracing mindfulness

The Mindful Way Through Depression asks the reader to embrace mindfulness as a method for managing life’s difficult emotions and trying experiences. As you read your way through this book, you’ll build a stronger resilience to challenging issues and find you are better emotionally-equipped to handle them head on. While there can be a sort of “quicksand effect” with depression, it is possible to pull yourself out of the emotional trap but it takes work. Also, the book teaches about the importance of cultivating the emotions you experience during periods of joy and contentment.  

Meditation and therapy

This book draws from the knowledge of Eastern meditative practices and cognitive therapy. Reading this book helps those suffering from chronic unhappiness overcome the challenges caused by rumination and self-blame. The book also comes with an accompanying CD with recordings of guided meditation sessions to help rebuild a sense of hope and well-being in their lives.

“If I could select one group of individuals for people to really pay attention to when grappling with chronic unhappiness, I could not think of a better group than these authors,” comments Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP, University of Washington. “Not only are they consummate scientists, but they are each personally immersed in the moment-to-moment mindfulness that they teach. This book brings together the practices of both science and insight meditation in an effective fashion that is understandable to the ordinary person–no esoteric practice or mental health background is necessary. Read it and see for yourself!”