There is a lot of talk these days about mindfulness meditation and its role in depression and anxiety. But what is it, really? And does it actually work? Let’s see what people are saying:
Is Mindfulness Good Medicine? (information from: Scientific American Mind; September/October 2014)
Mindfulness meditation can be defined as “maintaining attention on present experiences and adopting an attitude toward them characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance” (Scott Bishop; University of Toronto). Mindfulness has shown to be effective in relieving negative thoughts and anxieties instead of obsessing over them. A study in 2010, performed by Stefan Hofmann from Boston University showed that regular mindfulness meditation sessions helped to improve the symptoms of both anxiety disorders and major depressive disorders. However, other studies have shown that mindfulness meditation in people with anxiety is not significantly successful.
Presently, the evidence for mindfulness meditation as a treatment for mental illness shows the most promise toward reducing depression and preventing depression relapse. Studies have shown that mindfulness is particularly productive in individuals who have experienced three or more depressive relapses. It seems that mindfulness meditation has some serious potential, but that further investigation into the topic is needed to fully understand what that potential may be.
Update: Men’s Health pointed out the negative effects that can result from meditation. This is an article discussing contrasting views of meditation as a treatment for mental illness.
mental health meditation
Some information on the topic:
National Alliance on Mental Health:
Reasons Why Mindfulness Meditation is Good for Your Mental and Physical Health (Huffington Post):
Video: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life; Jon Kabat Zin
CALM Space: Mindfulness