How Mindfulness Works
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice that aims to train people to redirect their attention away from the events of the past, or anxieties of the future. Mindfulness techniques are intended to help individuals learn to bring their attention to the present moment, and in turn, get less carried away by thoughts, fears, or anxieties.
How can Mindfulness benefit me?
Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing overall stress, and improving aspects of physical health (e.g Grossman et al, 2004). Mindfulness-based clinical therapies have demonstrated success in treating a variety of mental health disorders as well, including depression and anxiety (e.g. Khoury et al, 2013). Brain imaging studies of mindfulness show that regular practice of mindfulness techniques can result in physical changes to the areas of the brain associated with emotional regulation, empathy, compassion and focus (Hölzel et al, 2012).
Can I get the same benefits from doing this online?
Controlled trials of self-guided mindfulness interventions delivered online have shown to be effective in decreasing stress, depression, and anxiety (e.g. Cavanagh et al, 2013). Researchers who study the effectiveness of practicing mindfulness online recommend that consumers practice the skills regularly and consistently to achieve the levels of success demonstrated in clinical trials (e.g. Boettcher et al, 2014)
…and on my smartphone?
Research on the effectiveness of smartphone-based mindfulness interventions is still in early stages, but studies so far suggest promising results. Controlled trials to date have found that smartphone-delivery of a mindfulness intervention can enhance overall well-being and help mitigate symptoms of stress & anxiety, depression, and poor sleep (Howells, Ivtzan, Eiroa-Orosa, 2014)