Feted as a way to improve mental and physical well-being, Mindfulness has become popular in recent years, but there is no proof Mindfulness is everything it’s cracked up to be. Said to boost happiness, mindfulness has become something of a trend thanks to plaudits from A-listers such as Emma Watson, Davina McCall Katy Perry, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey and tennis star Novak Djokovic.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment and involves breathing methods and guided imagery to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. It has even been touted as a universal method for boosting mental wellbeing by reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia assessed 57 studies on boosting happiness, including meditation and mindfulness as well as exercising, expressing gratitude, being more social, and immersing yourself in nature.
While there was some evidence that showing gratitude and socialising produced some benefits, the researchers found exercise, meditation and mindfulness did not stand up to scrutiny. So why is mindfulness so popular?
The researchers found that the supposed benefits of mindfulness courses might simply be due to participants feeling less lonely by participating in classes. Mindfulness uses controlled breathing exercises alongside guided imagery to relax both body and mind and thus reduce stress. Touted as an easy way to boost mental wellbeing, the researchers conducting the review found these benefits have been oversold.
Writing in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, the researchers claimed many of the supposed benefits seen in experiments could be explained by other factors.
As an example, they embarked on a two year study of a weekly mindfulness scheme run for elderly people in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Myanmar. Participants in the classes reported nearly three times the life satisfaction — a result the review described as ‘implausibly large’. Much more likely was that the improvement in life satisfaction was down to reduced feelings of loneliness for the elderly participants the weekly classes brought.
Another study, involving more than 200 Canadian students, showed similar results, revealing that ‘some of the most frequently recommended strategies for increasing happiness rest on a weak foundation of evidence’.
The British Columbia authors concluded that while mindfulness doesn’t do people any direct harm, it still needed to be tested and provide supportive evidence. As with other ‘happiness strategies’, such as meditation, mindfulness requires substantial amounts of time and energy, which for some people, might be in limited supply.
If these strategies are falsely portrayed as being strongly supported by scientific evidence, individuals may be disappointed when the strategies fail to enhance their own wellbeing. Equally important, the credibility of science may also be damaged if these strategies are recommended without appropriate empirical evidence.
Hypnosis is at the top of the tree when it comes to personal change, and its advantages speak out loud and clear. It’s benefits have been proved over and over again producing immediate and tangible results, changing the way clients feel about themselves helping them interact with the world around them. A session of hypnosis can work wonders for confidence and self-assertiveness, setting achievable goals, bringing them back to life in record time. What is needed is entirely a matter of what the clients wants and really needs. This is discussed with the client in the session and just one or two sessions (of two to three hours) are usually enough.