Friday, August 27, 2010

Mindfulness, conditional goal setting and depression

People sometimes say to themselves 'I'll be happy when I've got a new car,' or 'I'll have achieved domestic bliss as soon as I've painted the front room.' Psychologists call this way of thinking Conditional Goal Setting and in a number of studies it has been associated with depression. Mindfulness is another way of thinking which derives from Buddhism and which stresses living in the moment, being aware of one's thoughts and surroundings in the present and being open-minded and non-judgmental. Buddhism is also against the idea that happiness is dependent on the achievement of other goals such as material posessions or exam results and a team of researchers from Oxford University and the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London studied 31 depressed patients to see whether there was a link between people's mindfulness and their conditional goal setting - both of which were measured with questionnaires. They found a significant association between 'increased dispositional mindfulness' and reduced conditional goal setting - an indication of another way in which mindfulness might reduce depression.

Crane, Catherine ... [et al] - The relationship between dispositional mindfulness and conditional goal setting in depressed patients British Journal of Clinical Psychology September 2010, 49(3), 281-290

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