No matter the industry these days, more and more people lead stressful lives. Busy lives, without much pause in between one thing and the next. Between professional goals and raising a family, or maintaining hobbies, or perhaps a mix of all three, finding time to decompress can be like asking people to always eat a balanced diet: it’s really hard.
A 2013 Massachusetts General Hospital study found that patients with a diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder who took part in a group intervention for eight weeks with mindfulness-based stress reduction experienced significantly less anxiety after the completion of the program. Those in the control group, however, remained equally anxious as they had at the beginning of the experiment.
Reduces Unconscious Bias
Professor Adam Leuke of Central Michigan University found, during a study, that participants who listened to a mindfulness audio recording were less likely to have an automatic bias against a recording. Rather than override the automatic bias, it just was not as present as it was for the control group. This study later went up against the idea of conscious behavior, and again, participants who listened to the mindfulness audio track had less bias against a picture of a person. Overall, more mindful participants were more inherently likely to trust both pictures equally.
May Prevent and Treat Depression
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) uses both mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive behavioral therapy to implement an eight-week program for people at risk with depression. The result? This unique therapy proved as successful in preventing depression recurrence as antidepressant medications did.
May Treat Body Dysmorphia
Participants in an intervention group for women who suffer from body dissatisfaction experienced a reduced amount of “body dissatisfaction, body shame and contingent self-worth based on appearance, as well as greater gains in self-compassion and body appreciation” after a three-week self-compassion meditation training. These effects were even still present three months later, proving them to have lasting capabilities.
Although having the luxury to attend a therapy program that utilizes mindfulness-based stress reduction, it’s not always a reality for many people due to time and financial constraints. However, researchers are finding that even short-term mindfulness practices are improving mood, level of fatigue and anxiety, and increase mindfulness. Participants who engage in mindfulness training for even four days proved better visual-spacial processing, better memory, and the ability to sustain attention. In other words, practicing mindfulness even for a short period has proven its worth.