The Use of Mindfulness to Improve Mental Health

A recent article  contains a systematic review of  research on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  Mindfulness is a skill that allows individuals to  have moment to moment, non-judgmental awareness of their emotions, thoughts, and sensations.  MBSR and MBCT are used to promote wellbeing through meditation, body scans, and mindful yoga in combination with whole day retreats, group discussion sessions, and daily homework exercises.

Many studies have been conducted on mindfulness and its effectiveness in reducing depression, stress, and anxiety.  Previous review articles were less systematic and included non-randomized studies and small sample groups.  As such, the conclusions of these reviews were varied and the efficacy of MBSR/MBCT unclear.

In an attempt to clear up this uncertainty, Fjorback et al  performed a systematic review of all articles published on MBSR and MBCT in the last 30 years but examined only randomized trials with control groups and a minimum of 33 participants.  The effects of MBSR and MBCT on stress, anxiety, and depression were investigated.            Results of the review showed that MBSR was beneficial for reducing stress and distress, alleviating depressive symptoms, and improving anxiety in both clinical and non-clinical populations.  MBCT was found to reduce the risk of relapse in depressive patients who had recovered from three or more previous episodes of depression.  The researchers concluded that MBSR is a good complementary method of improving mental health for both clinical and non-clinical populations.

Fjorback, L. O., Arendt, M., Ornbol, E., Fink, P., & Walach, H.  (2011).  Mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy – A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.  ACTA Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

2 replies
  1. Armando Ribeiro das Neves Neto
    Armando Ribeiro das Neves Neto says:

    Studies on the integration of mindfulness into cognitive behavioral therapy suggest that we can learn a lot from the knowledge coming from other conceptual and historical roots. The integrative power of cognitive behavioral therapy will allow the same way that we associate with Eastern practices in the West, probably in the east are also the best use of behavioral neuroscience in the West.

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