This is Episode 15 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology.
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:
The Psychology of Mindfulness, Digested
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.