Research Suggests Mindfulness Courses Can Help Improve Mental Health

Friday, January 15th 2021, 12:02 pm
By: CBS News

New research out of Britain suggests mindfulness courses can improve mental health but may not be for everyone.

The popular form of meditation is practiced around the world.

"For most people, in most settings, it will improve depression, anxiety, stress and well-being," said Dr. Julieta Galante of the University of Cambridge's Department of Psychiatry.

A University of Cambridge study looked at data from 29 countries and found while community mindfulness courses can improve mental health, in at least one in 20 trial settings it did not help anxiety and depression.

"In some cases, a few cases, it may not be beneficial. It may just not have an effect," Galante said.

Researchers followed almost 12,000 participants, including in the U.S. Most were women who took part in classes at work or college. They found mindfulness, compared with doing nothing, boosted mental health.

"We did find a slight advantage of the mindfulness courses that have an element of physical activity in them," Galante said.

British body coach Joe Wicks of The Body Coach TV said fitness and mindfulness work hand in hand.

"Don't exercise to look good this year, you know, exercise to feel good" he said.

When the pandemic hit, Wicks became the world's PE teacher, launching live workouts on YouTube to give people a lift during lockdown.

Cambridge researchers said the number of mindfulness classes has jumped significantly during COVID, and they'll continue to study its effect on mental health.

Researchers say the effectiveness of online courses for mindfulness has yet to be determined, but preliminary studies suggest they work, despite the lack of direct contact.