Psychological Effects of Mindfulness

Dear Researcher,
Thank you for selecting our team of expert researchers with the opportunity in assisting you on gathering the best and scholarly sources for your paper. Below we provide you with the information pertaining to the topic as per your request. The two main topics that we were focusing on are the effect of Mindfulness on Human Behaviour and the Biologics benefits of Mindfulness. The effects of mindfulness on Human Behavioural is then subclassed into Depression, Stress, Relationship Satisfaction, Sleep , and Academic Enhancement. Similarly, under Biological aspect of Mindfulness, we took more of a reductionist approach. Here you will find more information about the effect of Mindfulness on short and long term Pain Reduction, Improved Brain Activity, Blood pressure, heart and cardiovascular disease and Improved Quality of Life on HIV patients.
We can guarantee the information compiled by us will be useful for your paper.
All the best,
Qiam, Linh and Tiya



The practice of mindfulness has around for thousands of years. The word mindfulness derived from the Pali word sati, which means having awareness, attention and remembering. Relatively recently mindfulness is progressively rising in popularity in psychological literature, as the term mindfulness has been used as the psychological state of awareness, a mode of processing information and the development of an individual. As defined in the article, mindfulness is the “moment-by-moment awareness” or as “a state of psychological freedom that occurs when attention remains quiet and limber, without attachment to any particular point of view.” There are numerous disciplines and practices that an cultivate and enhance mindfulness, such as Yoga, Tai chi, Qigong and the most developed form of mindfulness is meditation.

Meditation refers to a “family of self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development and/or specific capacities such as calm, clarity and concentration.” Many studies have confirmed that the practice of meditation has the many beneficial effects on the practitioner, emotion regulation, treating stress, focused attention, empathy, anxiety, relapse of depression and treating health. Different types of meditation practice can elicit different brain activity patterns, which can cause specific physiological outcomes. (Davis and Hayes, 2011) [4]

The short three minute video introduces a brief history of mindfulness meditation, various meditation techniques and the benefits.

Behavioural Aspect of Mindfulness


Mindfulness Effects on Depression

Depression is a major depressive disorder with the high risk for recurrence. Up to 80% individuals that experience the first episode of depression will suffer from having one or more additional episode in their lifetime. In this research study article on Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy hypothesized that the effect of mindfulness in depression is mediated by a reduction in levels of rumination. Rumination is the compulsive focus attention on the symptoms of the individual’s distress, which has been shown to be in an important cognitive vulnerability factor in recurrent depression. Throughout the study conducted on Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for residual depressive symptoms indicated a significant reduction in depressive symptoms following the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Williams, Segal, and Teasdale developed the MBCT program trains the participant’s mindfulness skills based on meditation practices such as body scanning technique and mindfulness movement training, which was to be delivered over 8 weeks to the recovered depressed individuals to reduce rates of recurrence. The patients were those who had a history of recurrent major depressive disorder who have also residual depressive symptoms. The importance of this article highlights that mindfulness exposed patients to their emotions and thoughts as well as diminishing emotional responsiveness to a negative stimulus and reducing avoidance behaviour, due to rumination. (Kingston et al., 2008) [11]


Mindfulness-Base Stress Reduction

Stress arises as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from demands made on them and the individuals ability to cope with it. The study by Gross et al., on Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and health benefit focuses on the patients progressively developing mindfulness awareness to deal with stress. The program conducted used mindfulness mediation to alleviate patients with a variety of chronic suffering of stress, physically and with psychiatric disorder as well as on groups of relatively healthy individuals who have hope to improve their abilities to cope with normal but often significant stresses of daily life. The mediation procedure assisted individuals to develop enhance awareness of moment-to-moment experience of perceptible mental process. The meditation approach will provide greater awareness and by reducing negative affect and improve vitality and coping. The result of the study indicated that consistent mindfulness training might enhance features of coping with distress in everyday life as well as under more extraordinary conditions of serious disorder of stress. (Grossman et al. 2003) [9]

Relationship Satisfaction

Mindfulness-Based Relationship Enhancement
Mindfulness practice has significantly enhanced non-distressed couples into a happier state. Carson et al. article suggest couples can practice Mindfulness-Based Relationship Enhancement (MBRE), as it has been shown to be effective way to boost stress coping skills and personal well-being. MBRE emphasized the importance of it shown promising results to achieve successful marriage skills. The theoretical foundation for testing the mindfulness approach to boost the partner’s stress coping skills in the article was based on three salient aspects below.
1. Mindfulness promotes the well-known relation response resulting in psychophysiological changes that are the opposite of those of stress induced.
2. Mindfulness teaches acceptance of an individuals experience without judgment, which develops more compassion and empathy for others and themselves.
3. Mindfulness is the way of being in all of life experience, rather than a way to cope with specific troublesome aspects of life.
Empirical support indicate that couples practicing mindfulness in relationship such as meditation, incorporation of partner version of yoga exercise, mindful touch exercise, sensual intimacy, emotion-focused and problem focused approached to relation difficulties, at home and in session showed significant improvements in happiness, efficacy and overall stress. [2]

Applying Mindfulness to Children

Self-regulatory skills supporting school readiness and socioemotional competence are believed to be critical in early childhood. Such skills can be observed in multiple levels, including physiological, emotional, and cognitive. In the study by Calkins and Fox on the potential benefits of mindfulness in training in early childhood, suggest that it is optimal to introduce mindfulness training, using age-appropriate activities to exercise their moment-to-moment experience for a healthy development of self-regulation by targeting top-down processes (sustained iterative reprocessing information) while addressing bottom-up influences by reducing anxiety, stress, and negative curiosity. Children practice mindfulness meditation in a playful way, with physical metaphors for a better understanding to control their breathing. Findings in the articles indicated mindfulness training improved self-reported emotion regulation and reports that children are more attentive and positive in school. (Zelazo & Lyons, 2012) [17]


Mindfulness Meditation Helps Fight Insomnia, Improves Sleep
Insomnia or other forms of sleeping disorders have been a health concern for many people. A clinical trial conducted in Los Angeles in the year of 2011 has proven positive effects of meditation. The study consisted of49 individuals with the average age of 66 years. Half of the group took part in a standardized mindful awareness practices and the other half took a sleep hygiene education. The group that practised meditation showed vast improvement compared to the other group. [3]


Many state, national and international testes indicate poor performance among the middle school students. Research has found that the scores in these years contribute to whether students will drop out or graduate from school. A study was conducted at an urban public middle school with primarily low socioeconomic status racial and ethnic minority. The trial consisted of 189 students who were below proficiency level in either mathematics or English. At the end of the study it showed that a greater percentage of meditating students improved at least one performance level in math and English compared to the controlled group. [13]

Biological Aspect of Mindfulness


Fig. 1. Region of interest analysis identifies gray matter concentration increases in the left hippocampus (MNI coordinates x = − 36 (C), y = − 34 (B), z = − 8 (A)) in the MBSR group. Voxels (thresholded at P = 0.01 and masked for the regions of interest) are overlaid over the group-averaged brain. D: Change in gray matter concentration (GMC) within the cluster in the left hippocampus from the Pre to the Post time-point in the MBSR and the control group; error bars show 95% confidence interval.

Enhanced Brain Activity

Mindfulness meditation has been reported to produce positive effects both in the long term and short term in psychological well-being. The study by Holzle and his team in 2011 has reported that mindfulness meditation has significantly increased the grey matter concentration. Recently, several studies have shown that mediators show a different grey matter concentration and size that individuals who do not meditate. The 8 weeks mindfulness-based Stress reduction (MBSR) course showed that there is significant grey matter concentration when compared with control group. It was hypothesized that the grey matter concentration in hippocampus increase as a result of mindfulness meditation. The hippocampus is responsible for the modulation of cortical arousal and responsiveness. Hippocampus is also said to regulate emotions. Therefore, mediators may reflect improved function in regulating emotion. Furthermore, after the 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation on 16 individuals, it was seen that the grey matter concentration increased in the left hippocampus. When the entire brain was analyzed, there was an increase in the posterior consulate cortex, the temporal partial junction, and the cerebellum [10]


Figure 2. Mean numerical ratings (NRS) with 95% confidence intervals for experimental conditions in Experiment 1.

Short term Pain Reduction

Pain relates to the sensation that causes discomfort. When you feel pain you are basically in a state of discomfort, distress and even maybe agony. In general there are two types of pain: acute pain and chronic pain. Mindful meditation can decrease both acute and chronic pain. Fadel Zeiden and his team showed that a brief 3 days meditation significantly reduced the rating. Individuals were rating the pain before the study and after the study by either high or low. Interestingly, the mean numerical rating of individuals with meditation decreased significantly. Therefore, individuals who rated a certain electric stimulus as high before the medication reported low rating of pain after the meditation.

The figure on the left shows the mean numerical rating of individuals who reported high and low pain. Comparing the Mean numerical rating of individuals before the study, in this case, the base line, and after the study. People showed a significant decrease in both low and high pain (feeling). [12]

Chronic Pain Reduction

Mindfulness meditation also has a direct effect on the chronic pain such as headaches. Chronic pain is a complex and systemic body-mind process. In the recent years researches has suggests that the pathway through which cognitive and emotional process trigger chronic pain is mediated by over expression of stress response system. When our bodies and mind develops a mechanism for overreacting to stressors, chronic dysregulation is resulted. The article by Diane E. Nash-Mc Feron reveals the effect of mindfulness and chronic pain reduction. The main aim of this study was to see the effect of mindfulness meditation on pain management and sense of control. After conducting the experiment over a course of 7 weeks, patients in the treatment group reported 50% lower headache than the control group. The individuals in treatment group also significantly increased sense control in body, mind, relationships, career and self, environment and vices. [6]

Blood Pressure

Transcendental Meditation or TM is specific form of meditation using mantras. It is a technique introduced in the India in the year of 1950. The article "Meta-analysis: Effect of TM on blood pressure" posted by the Transcendental Meditation group discusses a new study conducted by researchers associated with University of China and University of Southern California. The study was randomized and it was controlled. There were 996 participants in twelve studies and the testes indicated an approximate reduction of -4.26 mm hg in systolic BP and −2.33 mm Hg in diastolic BP. The positive effects of TM in older participants, women and participants with higher blood pressure initially, who has systolic BP was much greater in comparison. [1


Autonic and Cardiovascular

Recent studies have suggested that mindfulness meditation have a positive effect on over all health. However, the main purpose Ditto and his team’s study were to examine the effect of mindfulness meditation on short term autonomic and cardiovascular effects. In one study, 30 participants, composed of 15 men and 15 women, assigned to either the control group or in the study for two laboratory sessions for a total of 4 weeks. After the completion of study, the heart rate, cardiac respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and blood pressure were measured. Participants showed a greater increase in cardiac respiratory sinus arrhythmia. After the study female participants exhibited a decrease in diastolic blood pressure, while men showed an increase in the cardiac output (Ditto, Eclache, and Goldman, 2006). [5]

Diabetes and Heart Disease

The study by Chris Dickens, Stuart Bold, and Peter Coventry in 2014 revealed a very useful and interesting information about the effect of mindfulness meditation on people with diabetes and heart diseases. The study was conducted on n=40 people. The patients were divided into two groups and were treated in a six-week meditation program. At the end of the six weeks, meditation and mindfulness lead to improved sleep, and greater relaxation. Also people in the treatment group also reported a increase worry and thought suppression.
According to short interview, participants also reported that mindfulness meditation also allowed forgetting about the past and worrying less about the future. So here is what a participant said in an interview,
“Forget about the past, that’s gone. The future you haven’t got that much control over. You have some control over it, but you haven’t got that much control, especially when you get older, so concentrate on here and now and the present. I think that’s been brought home to me a lot. (p. 1023, male, DM, focus group) “
The table above in Fig 1 also shows the before and after statistical calculations of the participants. WBSI and PSWQ are two forms of questionnaires. [12]

Improves Quality of Life among HIV Patients

A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in the year of 2013 found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique could help the HIV patients in improving their vitality and their quality of life. It was a six-month long, randomized trial involving 22 subjects. At the end of the trial the TM group showed vast improvement in terms of general mental health, health vitality etc. They were also physically and mentally active. This group also had better outcomes with the hormone cortisol, which is associated with stress and T-Cell count, which is a measure of immune function. These positive results opened up a new window in improving the lives of HIV infected people. [15]

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12. Keyworth, C., Knopp, J., Roughley, K., Dickens, C., Bold, S., & Coventry, P. (2014). A mixed methods pilot study of the acceptability and effectiveness of a brief meditation and mindfulness intervention for people with diabetes and coronary heart disease. Behavioral Medicine, 131028083548006-131028083548006.
13. Majasiri, S., Nidich, R., Rainforth, M., Grant, J., Valosek, L., Chang, W., & L, R. (2011). Academic Achievement and Transcendental Meditation: A Study with At-Risk Urban Middle School Students. Education, 131(3). Retrieved from
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15. Osratti, M. (2013). New Research Shows TM Helps Improve Quality Of Life In HIV Patients. Retrieved from
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17. Zelazo, P., & Lyons, K. (2012). The Potential Benefits of Mindfulness Training in Early Childhood: A Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience : Perspective. Child Development Perspectives, 154-160. Retrieved from
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