The Evidence Base for Mindfulness
There is a growing body of academic evidence which supports the beneficial effects of regular mindfulness and meditation practice. It has become apparent that our minds, brains, bodies,
behaviours and relationships can be positively enhanced by regularly engaging in mindfulness practice.
Researchers from around the world have found that mindfulness meditation seems to prime brain cells to fire together in patterns that strengthen key brain structures - those, for example, important in tasks such as decision-making, memory, and emotional flexibility (Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness 2019).
And evidence continues to highlight how helpful mindfulness can be with managing stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as physical problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and chronic pain. The NHS promotes mindfulness as one of the Five Ways To Wellbeing.
People who practice mindfulness say it fundamentally changes
how they experience life.
Over the last 40 years, researchers have been studying the science behind these perceived changes. They emphasize that, compared to research in other scientific fields, the study of mindfulness is still in its infancy.
That said, the growth of research in this area and the evidence gleaned so far looks promising.
Bangor University Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, the Oxford Centre for Mindfulness, the Centre for Mindfulness Studies (Toronto, Canada) and The Mindful Awareness Lab (also Toronto, Canada) provide a comprehensive reading list of the key mindfulness studies and texts. The Frantic World, Mindfulness Project, Mindful.org, and VeryWellMind websites also provide an informative overview of the science and benefits of meditation, with links to some of the key academic studies in this field.
Studies have revealed that practicing mindfulness can:
Click on text to access studies