Who created Mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the modern Mindfulness practise, removing it from it’s original Buddhist framework and linking it to scientific study. He created the stress reduction program ‘mindfulness-based stress reduction’ (MBSR) which is the form we use and it is offered by medical centres, hospitals, and health maintenance organisations around the world.
There is also ‘Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy’ (MBCT) which is used for specific conditions such as depression and anxiety. This was created by Teesdale, Segal and Williams (2002) and it focuses on releasing cognitive distortions and negative thought patterns and becoming unattached from our thoughts and feelings.
It is important to note that mindfulness can be practised in a variety of different ways. This ranges from present moment awareness when doing daily tasks to sitting in silent contemplation.
Mindfulness Research and Findings
- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been recommended Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), for the treatment of recurrent depression since 2004.
- The importance of mental health both to human wellbeing and the prosperity of the country has been well established in a number of recent reports (including the report of the Wellbeing Economics APPG published last year), and it has prompted the government’s initiative to set up the What Works Centre for Wellbeing (established in 2015), hosted by Public Health England.
- Mindfulness has proven to be effective for children and young people, with school-based interventions having positive outcomes on wellbeing: reducing anxiety and distress as well as improving behaviour, among other areas (K Weare “Developing mindfulness with children and young people: a review of the evidence and policy context”, Journal of Children’s Services, 2013).
- Evidence also suggests that children who used mindfulness practices more frequently reported higher wellbeing and lower stress scores (W Kuyken et al, “Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in Schools Programme: non-randomised controlled feasibility study”, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2013).
- There is also promising evidence that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) can be helpful in alleviating distress for young people experiencing depression and anxiety (Biegel G.M. et al, 2009).
- Professor Filip Raes (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven) found that Mindfulness at school reduces (likelihood of) depression-related symptoms in adolescents
- Williams et al found that MBCT is as effective at reducing depression as antidepressants.
- In the UK, the Government’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended MBCT in their Guidelines for Management of Depression (2004, 2009) for service users who have had three or more episodes of depression.
- A research study published by the University of Oxford in November 2013 examined the effects of a Mindfulness course on 273 people who had completed it, and showed that, on average, after one month, they enjoyed:
- A 58% reduction in anxiety levels
- A 57% reduction in depression
- A 40% reduction in stress