When it comes to improving your mental health, many have turned to mindfulness and meditation.
A new study shows both practices actually may not have much more benefits than watching a David Attenborough documentary!
The lead psychologist at Coventry University, Maguel Farias, worked alongside scientists from the Netherlands and New Zealand, to test which methods did and did not lead to self-improvement.
After 22 separate trials, no convincing evidence was found to show that either mindfulness or meditation promoted either open-mindedness, or empathy. Simply jogging and watching TV showed just as effective, with certain programmes proving to be more successful at this.The researchers then looked at previous studies that compared both techniques, known for helping people concentrate, to other activities not thought of a similar light!
In a paper written for Scientific Reports, the team found that those studied were often written by people who hosted classes and made money from the practices, leading to probably biased outcomes
The truth is that despite them showing mindfulness lead to an increase in compassion, there was no particular advantage over practicing it over watching documentaries – such as those narrated by Attenborough, it was found.
Farias thus concluded that methods such as mindfulness and meditation show no effect that is measurable beyond the placebo effect after their teacher tells someone what to expect.
The psychologist compared the technique taught in sometimes-pricey classes to a religion and warned against ‘implicit magical beliefs’ in meditation.
Due to the rise of mindfulness and it’s increasing popularity, there has been many studies done looking into the practice in recent months. Some are negative are find it may make people more ‘selfish’ and self-orientated, whilst another caused controversy after claiming it will improve your sex life!
Personally we think we’ll stick to documentaries…