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The Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation

The page attempts to compile as many quality articles and scientific studies as possible on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  One thing should be obvious here:  unlike many pharmaceutical medical interventions used to treat various mental and physical ailments, practicing mindfulness and meditation has no downside and a very high potential upside.  And it has never been easier to get started.  (note)

The Primary Scientific Literature on the Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation


Mindfulness and Meditation and their effect on Depression, Anxiety, and Stress


Emotion Regulation Mediates the Associations of Mindfulness on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in the General Population.

"Mindfulness exerts positive effects on mental health among the general population mostly via improving emotion regulation. The training of mindfulness and emotion regulation may thus benefit mental health not only in clinical populations but also in the general population."


Brief training in mindfulness meditation reduces symptoms in patients with a chronic or recurrent lifetime history of depression: A randomized controlled study.


Mindfulness-Based Interventions for People Diagnosed with a Current Episode of an Anxiety or Depressive Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials


Critical Analysis of the Efficacy of Meditation Therapies for Acute and Subacute Phase Treatment of Depressive Disorders: A Systematic Review

 Effect of a mindfulness program on stress, anxiety and depression in university students.


Turning Towards or Turning Away: A Comparison of Mindfulness Meditation and Guided Imagery Relaxation in Patients with Acute Depression.


Reduced stress and inflammatory responsiveness in experienced meditators compared to a matched healthy control group


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy vs. psycho-education for patients with major depression who did not achieve remission following antidepressant treatment.


Mindfulness meditation training alters stress-related amygdala resting state functional connectivity: a randomized controlled trial


The shape of change in perceived stress, negative affect, and stress sensitivity during mindfulness-based stress reduction.


Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) reduces anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation in veterans.


Effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for co-morbid depression in drug-dependent males.


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for recurrent depression: A translational research study with 2-year follow-up.


Effects of meditation on anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life of women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer.


Mindfulness and cognitive behavioural interventions reduce rumination and worry.


Neural correlates of mindfulness meditation-related anxiety relief 

"These findings provide evidence that mindfulness meditation attenuates anxiety through mechanisms involved in the regulation of self-referential thought processes"

Mindfulness and Meditation and their effect on Attention, Focus, Self-Regulation, and Memory


Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation

"5 days of 20-min integrative training showed greater improvement in conflict scores on the Attention Network Test, lower anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue, and higher vigor on the Profile of Mood States scale, a significant decrease in stress-related cortisol, and an increase in immunoreactivity." 

Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention

The benefits of simply observing: mindful attention modulates the link between motivation and behavior.

Intensive Meditation Training Improves Perceptual Discrimination and Sustained Attention

Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility

The Impact of Intensive Mindfulness Training on Attentional Control, Cognitive Style, and Affect

Mindfulness-based intervention in attention-deficit-/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Mindfulness Training as an Adjunct to Evidence-Based Treatment for ADHD Within Families


Mindfulness and Meditation and their effect on Brain Chemistry and Structure


Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness​

"Brain regions associated with attention, interoception and sensory processing were thicker in meditation participants than matched controls, including the prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula. Between-group differences in prefrontal cortical thickness were most pronounced in older participants, suggesting that meditation might offset age-related cortical thinning. Finally, the thickness of two regions correlated with meditation experience. These data provide the first structural evidence for experience-dependent cortical plasticity associated with meditation practice."

Global and regional alterations of hippocampal anatomy in long-term meditation practitioners.

The unique brain anatomy of meditation practitioners: alterations in cortical gyrification.

Enhanced brain connectivity in long-term meditation practitioners.

Alterations in Resting-State Functional Connectivity Link Mindfulness Meditation With Reduced Interleukin-6: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.


Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: effects of meditative expertise.

Compassion training alters altruism and neural responses to suffering

Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity.

Experienced Mindfulness Meditators Exhibit Higher Parietal-Occipital EEG Gamma Activity during NREM Sleep

A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation.

Mindfulness and Meditation and their effect on Physiology

Effects of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation on Components of the Metabolic Syndrome in Subjects With Coronary Heart Disease

 "Use of TM [transcendental meditation] for 16 weeks in CHD [coronoary heart disease] patients improved blood pressure and insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome as well as cardiac autonomic nervous system tone compared with a control group receiving health education. These results suggest that TM may modulate the physiological response to stress and improve CHD risk factors, which may be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of CHD."

A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults.

A meta-analytic review of the effects of mindfulness meditation on telomerase activity.


Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection: a randomized controlled trial.

Rapid changes in histone deacetylases and inflammatory gene expression in expert meditators


Mind-body therapies for menopausal symptoms: a systematic review.


Mindfulness and Meditation and their effect on Weight Loss and Eating Behaviors


Mindfulness, Eating Behaviours, and Obesity: A Review and Reflection on Current Findings.

"Overall, it is concluded that while mindfulness meditations that specifically focus on eating may be extremely helpful in promoting better eating behaviours, and assist in weight regulation, work is still needed to make such interventions appeal to a wider audience."

Mindfulness-based interventions for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis.


What else the Scientific Literature Says:


Psychological Flexibility as a Fundamental Aspect of Health

"Existing work under the umbrella of emotion regulation, mindfulness and acceptance, neuropsychology, and social, personality, and developmental psychology offers insights into the nature, correlates, and consequences of flexibility. Human beings have the potential to better tolerate and effectively use emotions, thoughts, and behavior to extract the best possible outcomes in varying situations. This wide range of dynamic abilities forms the essence of health. After all, a healthy person is someone who can manage themselves in the uncertain, unpredictable world around them, where novelty and change are the norm rather than the exception. In many forms of psychopathology, these flexibility processes are absent. If interventions to increase flexibility can be informed by strong basic science, we believe there great untapped potential to aid people suffering from pathology, as well help highly functioning people find greater efficacy and fulfillment in their daily lives."



Articles on the Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation

Other websites that have gathered a large volume of scientific literature on the on the benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation

Scientific evidence that Transcendental Meditation works

Scientific Benefits of Meditation – 76 things you might be missing out on 




A physician or clinical therapist who knows your health history will always be in the best position to advise you on what steps to take when it comes to treating illness.  Medication and other therapies can provide immense benefit and in no way should be shunned in favor of only mindfulness or meditation.  Instead, mindfulness and meditation should be used as an adjunct to medical intervention when possible. 




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