Mindfulness Works – Here’s the Evidence

When it comes to introducing mindfulness, people often have a lot of preconceived notions, along with plenty of objections about why the practice won’t work for them.

The range of protests can go from “I just don’t have enough focus” all the way to “This simply won’t work for me.”

If you’ve ever had a client who just wouldn’t be convinced that they could benefit from mindfulness, it may help to share with them a few research-supported ways that just might sway their opinion.

That’s why I wanted to share this video with you – it includes three powerful, evidence-based ways that mindfulness has created a real change.

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Mindfulness is a practice with numerous benefits . . . and substantial research to back it up.

So when we’re able to integrate mindfulness into our work with patients, we’re giving them a uniquely effective tool that can help them reduce stress, strengthen focus, and speed healing.

And if you want to learn more ways to apply mindfulness in your work and life, be sure to check out our Mindfulness Webinar series.

With your Gold Membership, you’ll get 6 informative webinars complete with videos, audios, and transcripts of each session – plus additional bonus webinars.

How have you encouraged your patients to try mindfulness practice? Please share your experience in the comments below.

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22 Comments

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  3. Kal says:

    Sorry as per the below comment. Practicing mindfulness induced those changes. Brain scans show the evidence. These relatively new studies are well constructed and easy to find. I had limited success with CBT whereas MCBT still teaches you to face your fears and embrace them rather then forcibly trying to change them sometimes reinforcing the negative reaction you are trying to change. MCBT works

  4. Kal says:

    I agree that these studies are poorly constructed with the wait list control. Instead convince patients with the physical evidence as it is much more convincing. Several studies have shown a significant increase in grey matter as well as a shrunken amygdala which of course is believed to control flight or fight and generally larger in those with anxiety. I think presenting the first hand evidence like this to clients will be a strong initiative

  5. Cathy says:

    Thank you for all your work.
    I train yoga teachers and yoga therapists to incorporate M into their personal and professional practices. We place every emphasis on the embodiment of M so that clients experience M presence even as they take on the practices for themselves. Our work naturally involves breath work and movement and it’s helpful to emphasise the difference between teaching these simply cognitively or as techniques, to teaching them mindfully. We draw attention to the differences between M and relaxation, highlighting the latter as a ‘side-effect’ found in the small print on the box. We practice regular, small breaks: 3 breaths, noticing, hand on heart, consciously softening in the face, jaw and heart, etc.

  6. Andrew Henry says:

    I teach my clients a variety of mindfulness techniques to help them get in touch with the present moment. One that I enjoy teaching is, seeing the detail in ones environment.

  7. Donna Bunce says:

    Mindfulness teaches and allows any person at any age to allow the thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This is not easy but its the only way to expand and find resiliency. Tara Brach teaches simply: RAIN to recognize, allow, investigate, and non identify. So all of the energy of resistance decreases when sitting with ourselves. Welcome the pain and suffering. We do not have to become it! My mindful psychotherapist was my partner/teacher/life coach/guide in walking with me in my journey. That’s all a therapist needs to be. Real healing in therapy takes time and comes from within. Each piece that a client learns is huge! Its a practice–I take with me into each moment of life. My suffering was great therefore my motivation was also great. The person does not need to understand mindfulness or therapy to benefit! The bottom line is love is the answer!! Love of self will morph into love of other’s!!

  8. Donna Bunce says:

    I had therapy off and on through-out my life. And experienced a true healing in my early twenties when working with a Jungian Counselor. After returning to college and getting my degrees, experiencing the hardships of working within the county mental health fields, disappointment set after a encounter with a supervisor. She inadvertently, set off a Big Trauma response. My sleep was affected and much more after she terminated me. I went to a trusted psychiatrist who gave me a diagnosis of rapid cycling bipolar. That was 1995. I went on the medications and the diagnosis followed me to each doctor and counselor. After 16 years, I said no and listened to a small light inside of me. I found mindfulness psychotherapy and meditation. Two and a half years later I remain, medication free and the real diagnosis was childhood-complex development trauma. I have walked into my own shadow becoming more whole that I have ever been. I am no longer young, nor have the desire to return to formal structures as a professional. My history of experience and work is extensive. After several months of mindfulness I knew that this was at last the true path for healing. I am so grateful to finally have myself because trauma leaves you stuck like the chain falls off of a bike-going now where without great discomfort! The rest of my life will be dedicated to sharing my story and helping others to heal themselves too!! Inside the meditation of MBSR is a quiet, golden thread of life giving peace and energy. I hope to inspire others because we each have this small light inside of us that wants to become bigger!! Namaste

  9. marlene cohen PhD says:

    We regularly encourage mindfulness practice in resident trainees in family medicine by formally asking them in weekly groups to focus on their direct experience and allow it. This is a core of “choiceless awareness” that has been the part of my MBSR training, but we have been training this way as “gestalt awarensss” since the early 1980s. Since MBSR is “here now” with good evidence, I see that the next generations of phsycians could all benefit from MBSR evidence based practice and resulting skills to manage difficult situations and emotions as persons and professionals. Thanks for your efforts “to get the word out”; your notes have been vital support to me.

  10. luis calle says:

    Same old same old.

  11. luis calle says:

    “Too good to be true.”

  12. I have been using a variety of mindfulness based interventions for many years and it really is a wonderful resource, strategy and intervention. However, it does require the client’s participation and follow-up. When my clients are truly motivated to make changes in their lives the mindfulness based therapeutic interventions bring about changes and progress rapidly. When a client is resistant (ie: severe depression, panic/anxiety attacks) and they do not practice strategies between sessions, frustrations and disbelief on their part mount.
    We cannot “force” practice on clients, so working with a few ‘help demanding – help rejecting’ clients, I use my own mindfulness practices to help me stay grounded, resilient and hopeful in all my challenging sessions and I have to say, it really works. As I tell my clients… 3 p’s: Practice, patience, and perseverance… and we breathe!

  13. I’ve been using mindfulness in my practice for the past few years. Recently I saw life chaining results in two women. One was in the middle of cancer treatment, and the other was the wife of a cancer patient on his third go round with cancer. The cancer patient improved dramatically within a few weeks of starting a regular mindful practice and treatment. She reported that she was happier and more at peace than she had ever been in her life. She still had surgery and radiation to face, but was feeling 100% certain that she would be okay. She was managing the treatments beautifully and didn’t have many of the more troublesome side effects of chemotherapy that many people experience.

    The other client found that through meditation, acceptance and compassion for herself she was able to start living life more fully again after having closed herself off in an attempt to avoid the fear, grief and loneliness that she felt.

    There are many more examples, but these recent success stories stand out for me right now. I am finding mindfulness based CBT to be one of the most powerful tools in my toolbox, for sure.

  14. It may be true that the waiting-list control group is not optimum, but what medical research really is? The human body is so very complex, that approximately 70% of medical research is not ‘provable’ by traditional scientific standards. How can we control every influence on subject studied? We are not machines.
    In our vast body of knowledge, we can not definitively describe or understand how the brain works or what exactly it can do, much less understand the subtleties of biofield energy, intent, mindfulness, love or any less obvious but integral state of human-ness. It may be that more anecdotal research is needed. For me, when talking with clients, it is always essential to let them know that many other people have benefited from mindfulness in their daily lives and how. So the type of research presented here always informs my service to clients, and it is much appreciated.

  15. I’ve read several definitions of mindfulness and listened to or read many testimonials of how it almost miraculously helped a person overcome whatever they were dealing with. I would REALLY like to see how it is used in practice, even a demonstration session if not an actual client. How does mindfulness move a sobbing widow into a place of peacefulness? What questions does a mindfulness practitioner ask to get a criminal to have a change of heart and end his or her life of crime? Does it take more than one session? Specifics are what I am asking about. Dr. Jim S.

    • Lin Mari says:

      Some times it can take years…but the effects of mindfulness are immeadiate…but not necessarily total. For example: the sobbing widow with no experiecne in mindfulness training may not have the reserve for dealing with loss if they are not practicing mindfulness daily. But if she had been doing this…her response to the loss may equate to the amount of time she has pracitced mindfulness previously. If someone practices mindfulness for lets say a few years prior to the event of loss…they will still grieve greatly…but the grieving takes on a different hue … and may not be so devasting and the sense of being paralyzed my be less or non existence. In other words the traumatic effect of crisis is more normalized and less devastating. There is an inate hopeful sense in the grieving person that everything will indeed be alright.

  16. Marlene Eisen, Ph.D. says:

    I have found guided imagery to be a very helpful avenue to mindfulness training. Once the client realises how valuable it is to be aware of the observing self in a deeply relaxed state, he or she is ready to appraoch their problems with this new skill in hand, or in mind. Awareness of how a thought can effect the body is a whole new idea to some people. A fear based thought makes the whole body clench in an effort to protect itself. A pleasurable thought causes the body to relax. I have been working with these concepts for over 35 years and have had some truly remarkable results. Often the people who do not succeed in using these techniques are clutching on to their pain and distress for personal and often preverbal reasons.

  17. Jean Johnson says:

    How about using one control group and using CBT, MCBT and Narrative Therapy for example. Different therapies should be used in such a study seeking to find levels of effectiveness of treatment.

  18. anelize says:

    I can’t believe researchers are still using wait-list control groups to attempt to demonstrate effectiveness of a specific intervention. Surely some more meaningful control methods are possible in nearly all cases – are researchers just too lazy to try to come up with such control groups? Such studies are virtually meaningless in terms of the “specific” active intervention – attending a support group might produce the same positive result in comparision with a wait-list control group. Come on guys – try to be a little more inventive and maybe the rest of the scientific community will then start to take mindfulness and other psychological interventions a little more seriously.

  19. Ofelia says:

    Impressive information. I wonder, how Mindfulness be utilized among school age children. There are increasing number of students referred to school nurse office because of self-mutilation.

  20. Interesting! – And it is really great research is being done.
    I just wondered: Is it enough to to have a waiting-list control group? Because just the attention of having therapy could in itself have a beneficial influence. So maybe the control group should have some sort of similar attention with a different content.
    I am sure mindfulness is beneficial, and integrate aspects of it all the time. Kind regards Lene

  21. Paul Leslie says:

    It is so great to see science begin to confirm what the ancients knew. A simple method of changing your life backed up by research, how cool is that? :)

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