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Mindfulness Meditation can impact Mood and Working Memory

Very inter­est­ing and rel­e­vant recentIKF_CD_4 010 study on the impact of mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion (noticed thanks to heads up by Sharp­Brains reader John):

Build­ing Fit Minds Under Stress (Sci­ence Daily)

  • high-stress U.S. mil­i­tary group prepar­ing for deploy­ment to Iraq has demon­strated a pos­i­tive link between mind­ful­ness train­ing, or MT, and improve­ments in mood and work­ing memory”
  • The study also sug­gests that suf­fi­cient mind­ful­ness train­ing (MT) prac­tice may pro­tect against func­tional impair­ments asso­ci­ated with high-stress chal­lenges that require a tremen­dous amount of cog­ni­tive con­trol, self-awareness, sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and emo­tional regulation

Please note that this wasn’t a prop­erly ran­dom­ized study, so in fact much/ most of the effect may be due to the placebo effect, but still the find­ings seem to be con­sis­tent with a grow­ing body of evi­dence on the brain-based effects of struc­tured men­tal train­ing in the form of med­i­ta­tion (usu­ally mind­ful­ness meditation).

Full study Here (opens PDF).

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3 Responses

  1. Of course this is a study that I find very inter­est­ing, but also not ter­ri­bly sur­pris­ing. Mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion can aid in almost any kind of stress relief, whether it is mil­i­tary per­son­nel expe­ri­enc­ing the stresses and anx­i­eties of war or an aver­age cit­i­zen com­ing home from a 9–5.

    Good arti­cle!

  2. In the inter­est of dis­clo­sure I am affil­i­ated with the Mind Fit­ness Train­ing Insti­tute, the non-profit that sup­ports the deliv­ery of the inter­ven­tion that was used in this study.

    To be sure, this was a pilot study with many lim­i­ta­tions to the find­ings. Indeed, the lack of ran­dom­iza­tion being a big one. The effect could have been a result of a placebo effect. But that in itself would be quite an inter­est­ing finding–that an exec­u­tive con­trol func­tion like work­ing mem­ory could be strength­ened by the placebo effect despite the rig­ors of pre-deployment training.

    In any case, well-supported con­clu­sions about the effects of Mindfulness-based Mind Fit­ness Train­ing will await bet­ter designed studies–one of which will begin in 2010.

    • John, thank you for your note. The study was a very thought­ful one — I sim­ply wanted to point out a rel­e­vant fact. Please do keep us updated on future studies!

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