Mindfulness Research Today

What Researchers are Doing to Squash Stress and Anxiety

by Douglas Decicco, TranSeed Research Labs

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Background

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been proposed as a method for reducing stress and anxiety. It is not surprising, since MBSR entered academia through the introduction of Buddhism, beginning with leaders like Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts. ..sup..1

Buddhist meditation had been touted in the east as the path to serenity for centuries prior, and the development in meditative skills is still central to MSBR today. The image of the meditative faces of gurus and the Buddha himself in full lotus position are common enough in the west today for the association betwee mindfulness and peace of mind to be fully integreated into the western mind.

Yet stress and anxiety in the west remains a pandemic that renders threatens the quality of life and manifests in an array of comment mental disorders and common complaints. From the moment of waking to the evening when the collective minds of entire families retreat into the world of mindless television, gaming, and social networks, contemporary people are plagued with a mode of mechanical thinking that sorely lacks mindfulness.

MBSR programs are offered as a solution. Through retreat and training centers worldwide and online via video conferencing, the methodologies of the east, dressed in a new western cloak of legitimacy, through TED talks, news stories, and endless web sites and academic articles.

It has become big business, and a source of wealth and prestige for MBSR's current media figures such as Judson Brewer, the current Director of Research at the University of Massachussets Center for Mindfulness. Others have reached a moderate level of fame through the hybredization of MBSR with other trends. In the 1980s, arising out of research at the University of Oregon, Marsha M. Linehan developed dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), ..sup..2 an approach that seeks to integrate MBSR and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

With all the social and financial incentives made available to these proponents of mindfulness, it is appropriate to inquire into the legitimacy of the many claims that these various programs, training materials, books, and retreats purport.

What does science have to say about mindfulness as a remedy for debilitating stress and anxiety? How effective is mindful meditation for this common plague of contemporary humanity? How legitimate are these ancient claims of the east and the western re-packaging of the mindfulness approach the the revised claims under the banner of MBSR and DBT?

Using the TranSeed Research framework QGT (Quantitative Geno-environmental Therapy), the answer to these questions can be ascertained. ..a.. http://transeed.com/research/qgt.quality.geno-environmental.therapy.html

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) combines mindfulness meditation practices and mindful movement with elements from cognitive therapy.

Jon Kabat-Zinn (born Jon Kabat, June 5, 1944) is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn was a student of Buddhist teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh.

Mindful meditation itself having grown out of Yogic and Buddhist meditation practices that eastern proponents of meditation had presented as a method to quiet the mind and bring about serenity.

Mindfulness training has been found to reduce anxiety, and it is believed that long term practice of meditation that is part of mindfulness training reduces anxiety by reducing default mode network (DMN) activity, a neurological and cognitive state that leads to anxiety. ⊃ 1

[1] Mindfulness Meditation Training and Self-Referential Processing in Social Anxiety Disorder: Behavioral and Neural Effects ..nl.. J Cogn Psychother. 2009 Aug; 23(3): 242–257 ..nl.. doi: 10.1891/0889-8391.23.3.242 ..nl.. Philippe Goldin, PhD; Wiveka Ramel, PhD; and James Gross, PhD

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