Does mindfulness work – A guide to understand what scientific studies say about mindfulness
In this guide, we will discuss if does mindfulness work and what science says about that.
Does mindfulness work?
The mindfulness technique has become very popular in recent years.
Many are the people who decide to resort to this type of alternative therapy to work on some difficulties they are facing and even diseases.
People who have practised mindfulness express having felt significant changes in their body.
They express that the levels of stress and anxiety have been reduced and that they are calmer, but others say that mindfulness has not worked.
They say that it has been a waste of time and that they will resort to the search for other activities.
Each activity or technique that is practised will always have people who speak for and against their results.
In the case of mindfulness, the growth so great that it has had in recent years has implied that it has positive aspects for the mental and physical health of the person.
Mindfulness works for people who suffer from disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Its purpose is that the person can relax, think about the here and now and not let the problems or situations they are going through affect the functioning of their system and prevent them from carrying out their daily activities.
Mindfulness has the advantage that it can be practised anywhere, anytime.
The person only requires a few minutes and space where it can have some peace and privacy.
The person starts the meditation focusing on the moment, controlling the breath and relaxing its mind.
Many people say that after having practised mindfulness, they have felt more relaxed, the levels of stress and anxiety decreased, the worries it had in its mind dropped and the headaches or any part of the body were reduced, in short, Mindfulness seems to be a cure or a temporary solution to many problems that affect people.
Does mindfulness work?
It is a question that several people ask themselves. Some doubt that simply closing their eyes, breathing and focusing on the moment may have some transcendental change in their lives.
For a technique to work, a person’s disposition is needed. At the time of performing mindfulness, if the person does not adopt a positive and open posture to experience what the technique offers, there may be few results that they will experience, which will make them understand that the mindfulness does not work.
To know if does mindfulness works, the person needs to know what it is and what its origin is, which studies establish that this technique has as much strength to influence positively as other types of techniques used in different areas of health.
What is mindfulness
Mindfulness means full awareness. It is a practice-based on meditation that consists of training attention to be aware of the present.
Its founder is Jon Kabat Zinn and he expresses that mindfulness is intentionally paying attention to the present moment and without judging.
The practice of mindfulness stems from oriental traditions, especially from Buddhism and, specifically, from Vipassana meditation.
Mindfulness has some benefits, among which are:
- Improvement of physical and mental health
- Decreases anxiety and depression
- Balances the autonomic nervous system
- Improves social skills and empathy
- Improves blood pressure
- Improves memory, attention and mental clarity
- Increase the density of grey matter
- Improves physical recovery
- Power creativity
- Improves the emotional regulation of the limbic system
When the benefits of mindfulness are known, many people come to ask does mindfulness work since some find it difficult to relate this and other types of meditation with such valuable positive results for the well-being of human beings.
If a person wants to practice mindfulness there are several resources that it can access to learn more about what the practice consists of.
Books, video blogs, gyms, are some of the places the person can access to get started in the process.
Sometimes the lack of knowledge about the technique makes the person to not be able to take advantage of the benefits that this practice says it offers.
Due to the questions raised about does mindfulness work, science has had a series of interventions to know to what extent this meditation practice affects people.
This validity helps to verify in another way how beneficial mindfulness can be.
Does mindfulness work according to science?
The scientific investigations have the purpose of evidencing if something works or not with the purpose that people can believe or not about the truthfulness of something.
Due to the fame that has reached the practice of mindfulness, the scientific field has been responsible for verifying if does mindfulness work or not.
Knowing the scientific studies conducted in the functioning of mindfulness helps its truthfulness and that people can place their trust in this meditation when looking for other solutions to reduce their levels of stress and anxiety and lead a healthier life.
The Oxford Center for Mindfulness has found that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) prevents depression in service users who have experienced recurrent depression.
The MBCT reduces the recurrence rate for 12 months by 40-50% compared to usual care in people who have experienced three or more previous episodes of depression. (Crane C et al, “The effects of amount of home meditation practise in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on hazard of relapse to depression in the Staying Well after Depression Trial”, Behavior Research and Therapy, 2014).
MBCT is as effective at reducing recurrence as antidepressants (Williams et al, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for preventing relapse in recurrent depression: A randomized dismantling trial, Journal of Consulting and Clinical psychology, 2013). In the UK, the Government’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended MBCT in their Guidelines for Management of Depression (2004, 2009) for service users who have had three or more episodes of depression.
The American Psychological Association on its website shows some studies that express whether mindfulness works.
Regarding stress reduction, several studies indicate that mindfulness works to reduce stress.
In 2010, Hoffman et al performed a meta-analysis of 39 studies that explored the use of stress reduction based on mindfulness and cognitive therapy based on mindfulness.
The researchers concluded that mindfulness therapy can be useful for altering the affective and cognitive processes that underlie multiple clinical problems.
Studies on Mindfulness in the long-term treatment of health conditions have been performed.
A review of 114 studies (Carlson L., “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for physical conditions: A narrative review evaluating levels of evidence”, International Scholarly Research Notices, 2012) found, in the context of physical ill health, constant improvements in mental health and well-being, particularly stress, anxiety and depression when an intervention based on mindfulness is performed.
Some of these studies indicate how mindfulness intervenes positively for people’s physical and mental health.
While it is true that much research is lacking to continue deepening this technique and why people focus on mindfulness obtain beneficial results, what many people profess about performing this type of meditation has been positive.
Meditation in general, a practice that has been carried out since ancient times, has always been listed as a tool for the person to relax and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
After the analysis and knowledge about some research about mindfulness, the question that arises is: does mindfulness work?
The opinion of many people who practice it and the recent scientific studies carried out express that this technique has a positive effect on the person and its health in general.
FAQs about does mindfulness work
Is it bad to meditate at night?
It is not bad to meditate at night, however, some people prefer to do it at night because they feel more relaxed and it helps them to sleep better.
Meditation does not have a specific schedule, it will depend on the availability of the person during the day to perform the practice.
Can meditation be dangerous to practice?
Few studies have been conducted on the dangers of meditation, which indicate that there are some consequences that the person may experience during meditation.
The appearance of negative thoughts, alteration of sensory perception, loss of motivation, relieve negative emotions and memories and become antisocial, are some of the negative results that meditation can cause.
Does mindfulness work with music?
It all depends. If the music is relaxing and helps the person to calm down and lower their stress levels, it is correct to use it.
But if the person listens to a type of music that does not help him concentrate, it would not be appropriate to listen to music while meditating.
What is the real purpose of mindfulness?
Mindfulness seeks for the person to focus on the present moment instead of thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
It also seeks that the person accepts things as they are at the moment and why they happen.
Is it necessary to use mindfulness to treat some type of mental disorder?
It is not necessary to use mindfulness for the treatment of any mental disorder but mental health professionals sometimes recommend that their patients use this type of alternative therapy for their improvement.
Few studies have been carried out to know if does mindfulness works, but among the results shown, it can be seen how this technique exerts a positive influence on the physical and mental level of the person.
Many are the people who express the results they have achieved after having started the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness has reached great popularity and every day many people decide to practice this type of meditation for their lives.
Meditation has always been seen as a practice to clear the mind and relax.
Mindfulness comes together to help the person accept the reality of things and live here and now.
Scientific research on mindfulness continues, its popularity has made several researchers more interested in knowing about this technique.
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- Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World
- The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 minutes a day to less stress, more peace
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness meditation for everyday life
- Does Mindfulness Really Work? With Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson
- Meditation for panic attacks: does mindfulness work?
- Evidence and research on mindfulness
- American Psychology Association (2012) What are the benefits of mindfulness?
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