‘Mindfulness’ May Help Boost Mental Health, But It Has Limits

Practicing mindfulness is a popular method of boosting mental health, but a new study finds it might not be helping everyone equally. University of Cambridge researchers found that performing mindful meditation reduced anxiety, depression and stress, and increased well-being, when compared to doing nothing, but in more than one in 20 studies that were analyzed, mindfulness meditation didn’t produce any benefits.

Study author Julieta Galante says differences in how the meditations are taught, where they are taught, who teaches them, and who they are targeted to likely plays a big role in how helpful they are, plus there are many different types of mindfulness practices out there. Another find: mindfulness courses that include some physical activity as part of the program were more helpful than those that did not. The researchers say there’s no risk in giving mindfulness meditation a shot, but note that if your stress, anxiety, or depression are getting in the way of your life you should see a therapist or mental health care professional.