Evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness
Research on the benefits of mindfulness has been gathered from a wide range of different settings. The growing evidence base for mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) in the health and mental health sector in particular including neuroscientific evidence for its effectiveness is building a persuasive case for the use of MBIs in different settings.[i] Based on these findings, mindfulness training has been offered in a variety of settings.[vi]:
Mindfulness training has even been provided for the US Marine Corps. A study of its effects on the marines found that those who trained in mindfulness were better able to cope with high-stress conditions and had improved problem-solving, memory function and mood.
Mindfulness in Universities
In recent years more and more universities[v] have started to offer mindfulness training to enhance student performance, increase resilience and reduce anxiety . In the USA, The University of Minnesota runs a popular programme[vii], while in the UK many universities are offering mindfulness courses including all those listed on our pages – where to find university based mindfulness course. Oxford University offered its first mindfulness course in 2011-12, and now hundreds of students have been through their courses with positive student feedback.[viii] Northampton University has also developed a programme which builds on the results of a randomised trial.[ix]. More research is planned and we will update this page with the latest research as it becomes available,.
The evaluation of university based mindfulness programmes which has been undertaken to date suggests that it increases the resilience, self-awareness and focus of students and so helps enhance their learning experience and helps students to manage their work more effectively. [x] A US study in 1998 of the effect of mindfulness training on medical students found that an 8 week course reduced self-reported state and trait anxiety, reduced reports of overall psychological distress including depression and increased scores on overall empathy levels[xi] (Shapiro et al., 1998).
Here are some links to research and evidence about the benefits of mindfulness for students
[i] Davidson RJ et al. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine 65 (3): 564-70.
[vi] Chiesa A, Serretti A. ‘Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-analysis.’J Altern Complement Med. 2009 May;15(5):593-600.
[ix] H. Walach S. Lynch, G. Marie-Louise Mindfulness-based coping with university life (MBCUL): A randomised wait-list controlled study European Journal of Integrative Medicine Volume 1, Supplement 1 pp. 40-14, Nov, 2008
[xi] Shapiro SL, Schwartz GE, Bonner G. ‘Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students’ J Behav Med. 1998 Dec;21(6):581-99.