Research into Mindfulness

The first documented peer-reviewed journal article on mindfulness was published in 1982. Over the last four decades, and especially within the last 10 years, the study of mindfulness has gained momentum within the scientific community, going from 8 articles published in 2001, to 222 articles in 2011, to 1,450 articles in 2021 (American Mindfulness Research Association, 2022.) 

Since the inaugural journal article in 1982, mindfulness has been associated with many positive health outcomes, including

  • Prosocial behaviors, such as increased empathy (Lim, 2015) and compassion toward others (Weng, 2015)
  • Cognitive functions including focus, cognitive flexibility (Moore & Malinowski, 2009), and memory (Greenburg, 2018; Jha, 2017)
  • Psychological health, as a result of reduced stress (Ireland, 2017), reduced rumination (Chambers, 2008), and increased emotional regulation (Zou, 2020) and increased resilience (Chin, 2019)
  • Physical well-being, including improved immune function (Witek-Janusek, 2008), pain relief (Zeidan, 2016), and reduced blood pressure (Sudsuang, 1991, Loucks, 2019)

Our brains are not hard-wired.  We can learn to be happier and healthier.  We can train to be more focused and resilient.  Visit mindfulnessandhealthinstitute.org/research for more information on the research and science of mindfulness.

Research Resources

Harvard Business Review (Subject Search Mindfulness)
Journal of American Medical Association Network
American Mindfulness Research Association
NIH National Library of Medicine

Papers

Mindfulness in Athletes

Scott A Anderson, Kristin Haraldsdottir, Drew Watson  

Abstract

Interventions to promote athlete health and performance have traditionally been focused on the physical elements of injury and training. More recently, however, increasing attention has been placed on the mental aspects of athlete health, with emerging evidence suggesting that injury risk and athletic performance are significantly affected by athlete well-being. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to have significant benefits for a number of physical and mental health outcomes in various clinical populations, and recent research has explored how mindfulness may enhance athletic performance, improve athlete mental health, reduce injury risk, and perhaps even facilitate recovery from injury. As awareness of mindfulness as a noninvasive, low-risk, and accessible intervention increases in the Western society, use among athletes has increased as well. READ PAPER HERE
Copyright © 2021 by the American College of Sports Medicine

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Escitalopram for the Treatment of Adults With Anxiety Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Elizabeth A Hoge, Eric Bui, Mihriye Mete, Mary Ann Dutton, Amanda W Baker, Naomi M Simon 

Abstract
Anxiety disorders are common, highly distressing, and impairing conditions. Effective treatments exist, but many patients do not access or respond to them. Mindfulness-based interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) are popular and can decrease anxiety, but it is unknown how they compare to standard first-line treatments.

Conclusions and relevance
The results from this randomized clinical trial comparing a standardized evidence-based mindfulness-based intervention with pharmacotherapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders found that MBSR was noninferior to escitalopram. READ PAPER HERE

Journal of American Medical Association Psychiatry, January 2023

Meta-Analysis:  Do workplace-based mindfulness meditation programs improve physiological indices of stress? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Rachael A Heckenberg, Pennie Eddy, Stephen Kent, Bradley J Wright

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) have been related with improved job satisfaction, wellbeing, health, and reduced workplace stress with employees. This systematic review aims to synthesize the literature from employee samples to provide guidance for future investigations in terms of which physiological indicators and biological systems may be most impacted by MBIs. READ PAPER HERE

Harnessing Life’s Slings and Arrows: The Science and Opportunities for Mindfulness Meditation During a Global Pandemic and Beyond

Eric B Loucks, Melissa A Rosenkranz, J David Creswell

Abstract

We are at a difficult time in history with societal increases in stress, loneliness, and psychopathology, along with high rates of obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and chronic pain. Mindfulness interventions offer promise to address these societal issues. However, in order to make best use of the opportunities revealed by our current challenges, we must: (1) tackle these issues head-on with inclusive, innovative, and creative experimental designs and interventions, and (2) collectively adhere to rigorous, high quality methods so as to provide an evidence-based integration of mindfulness interventions into mainstream medicine and public health.We find there are several areas for which important advances are happening, including sampling socially diverse populations, examining mechanisms of action, pain management, and health behaviors. Furthermore, rigorous methods, including measurement, causal inference from control groups, delivery and scalability of mindfulness interventions, and affect modifiers to determine who mindfulness programs work best for are also gaining traction. This special issue on Mindfulness: Biobehavioral Mechanisms and Health Outcomes attends to many of these issues, several of which are highlighted in this editorial perspective. READ PAPER HERE
Copyright © 2021 by the American Psychosomatic Society

Home practice in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: A systematic review and meta-analysis of participants’ mindfulness practice and its association with outcomes

Christine E Parsons, Catherine Crane, Liam J Parsons, Lone Overby Fjorback, Willem Kuyken 

Abstract

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) emphasize the importance of mindfulness practice at home as an integral part of the program. However, the extent to which participants complete their assigned practice is not yet clear, nor is it clear whether this practice is associated with positive outcomes. For this systematic review and meta-analysis, searches were performed using Scopus and PubMed for studies published through to the end of 2015, reporting on formal home practice of mindfulness by MBSR or MBCT participants. Across 43 studies (N = 1427), the pooled estimate for participants’ home practice was 64% of the assigned amount, equating to about 30 minutes per day, six days per week [95% CI 60-69%]. There was substantial heterogeneity associated with this estimate. Across 28 studies (N = 898), there was a small but significant association between participants’ self-reported home practice and intervention outcomes (r = 0·26, 95% CI 0·19,-0·34). MBSR and MBCT participants report completing substantial formal mindfulness practice at home over the eight-week intervention, albeit less than assigned amounts. There is a small but significant association between the extent of formal practice and positive intervention outcomes for a wide range of participants. READ PAPER HERE
Journal of Behaviour Research and Therapy, August 2017

Read Paper Here

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