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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.

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