BPS: Is Mindfulness A Panacea Or Overhyped And Potentially Problematic?

Repost from BPS:

This is Episode 15 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here.

Click here for audio: Episode 15

Mindfulness is everywhere these days, but is it really as beneficial as it’s often made out to be? Our presenter Ginny Smith hears from clinical psychologist Dr Catherine Wikholm (co-author of The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?); she visits the Cambridge Buddha Centre to meet people who have taken up mindfulness meditation; and she discusses some of the latest mindfulness research trials with Professor Barney Dunn, a clinical psychologist at Exeter University. Some of the evidence is indeed promising, and mindfulness meditation could offer a cost-effective way to help many people with mental health problems. However, Ginny also discovers that many trials are ongoing, mindfulness is not risk free, and it may not suit everyone.

Some of the studies mentioned in this episode:

Mechanisms of action in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in people with physical and/or psychological conditions: A systematic review.

How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies

Mindfulness Training Increases Momentary Positive Emotions and Reward Experience in Adults Vulnerable to Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence (PREVENT): a randomised controlled trial

The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in Real-World Healthcare Services

The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a mindfulness training programme in schools compared with normal school provision (MYRIAD): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Unwanted effects: Is there a negative side of meditation? A multicentre survey

The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?

Relevant studies and articles from our own archive and The Psychologist magazine:

The Psychology of Mindfulness, Digested

A Mindful Moment – collection of Psychologist magazine articles on mindfulness.

Brainwave evidence hints at benefits from a school mindfulness programme

Brief mindfulness training does not foster empathy, and can even make narcissists worse

Experienced meditators have enhanced control over their eye movements

This is what eight weeks of mindfulness training does to your brain

Mindfulness meditation increases people’s susceptibility to false memories

Just fifteen minutes of mindfulness meditation can improve your decision making

How meditation alters the brain

Episode credits: Presented and produced by Ginny Smith. Mixing Jeff Knowler. PsychCrunch theme music Catherine Loveday and Jeff Knowler. Art work Tim Grimshaw.