What is NOT a benefit of mindfulness?

I found myself in the interesting position of having to set a multiple choice test on the topic of mindfulness – and the task ended up being surprisingly difficult! The “aha-moment” (as Oprah would call it) came when I created the following question:

Which of the following is NOT a benefit of mindfulness practice?

  • A Improved sleep
  • B Improved physical health
  • C Improved psychological health

It was more or less at this point that I tried to figure out what the correct answer would be, since I already knew A to C were all benefits of mindfulness practice. So, what would NOT be a benefit of mindfulness?

  • D Improved concentration
  • E Improved academic performance

Nope, these were still benefits of mindfulness… I’d have to go a different route.

  • F Improved relationships
  • G Improved immune function
  • H Improved quality of life

I was stuck. All of these were benefits of mindfulness practice. I couldn’t come up with a correct answer to the question I had created. Even if I tried to think outside of the box, I came up with a benefit, like:

I Improved relationship with God

Though I don’t think I’ve come across a scientific study on this particular topic, it makes sense for there to be a relationship between your ability to be mindful (fully and non-judgmentally aware of the present moment – to be able to quiet the chatter of the mind) and to feel more connected spiritually. In fact, it may be argued that prayer is one of many forms of practising mindfulness.

It proved to be an impossible task, to find something which is NOT a benefit of mindfulness practice: Improved parenting skills – check; improved digestion – check; improved mood – check; less stress – check; less anxiety – check; less depression – check; less conflict – check; improved energy – check. I couldn’t even comfortably say that there isn’t a relationship between mindfulness and the ability to earn more money. Why? Because mindfulness practice is related to improved concentration, academic and job performance, relationships and the ability to persevere. Together, those things may very likely lead to financial gains.

So, why not try mindfulness practice? Why isn’t everyone doing it?! For an answer to this question, please refer back to my post on the simplicity dilemma, and, come back next week for my post on creative ways to integrate mindfulness into your AND your family’s routine.

References:

Deplus, S., Lahaye, M., & Philippot, P. (2014). Les interventions psychologiques basées sur la pleine conscience avec l’enfant et l’adolescent: Les processus de changement. Revue Québécoise de Psychologie, 35, 71–99. Retrieved May 2016, from https://oraprdnt.uqtr.uquebec.ca/pls/public/docs/G/GSC/Publication/1935/45/3974/1/63512/11/F1038742944_35_2_001_007.pdf

Hawley, L.L., Schwartz, D., Bieling, P.J., Irving, J., Corcoran, K., Farb, N.A.S., Anderson, A.K., & Segal, C.V. (2014). Mindfulness practice and clinical outcome in mindfulness-based treatment. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 38(1), 1-9. doi: 10.1007/s10608-013-9586-4

Monshat, K., Khong, B., Hassed, C., Vella-Brodrick, D., Norrish, J., Burns, J., & Herrman, H. (2013). “A conscious control over life and my emotions”: Mindfulness practice and healthy young people. A qualitative study. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52, 572-577. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.09.008

Pagnini, F., Phillips, D., Bosma, C.M., Reece, A., & Langer, E. (2015). Mindfulness, physical impairment and psychological well-being in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Psychology and Health, 30(5), 503-517. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2014.982652

Wolkin, J.R. (2015). Cultivating multiple aspects of attention through mindfulness meditation accounts for psychological well-being through decreased rumination. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 8, 171-180. doi: 10.2147/PRBM.S31458

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