Implementing mindfulness in everyday life
Does one need to become buddhist to benefit from the meditation methods developed within the various buddhist meditation schools? – Not necessarily! Some of the methods practiced within buddhism are available to anybody who is interested in taking responsibility for their own life and improving their own situation. In particular, John Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme has become a very popular approach for training people in becoming more aware and mindful in daily life. MBSR primarily focuses on patients with chronic diseases and thus has a strong focus on developing a different perspective on the disease and the stress and pain it may cause. A quite significant body of research exists trying to evaluate this approach and a growing number of well controlled studies suggest that it really is beneficial for the patients.
To learn more about this aspect of mindfulness research, you may want to visit the AMRA website or subscribe to their monthly newsletter Mindfulness Research Monthly. For the practical side, the bemindful website, developed by the UK Charity Mental Health Foundation may be of interest.
Our own interest is, however, less related to clinical applications. Over the last few years I developed and refined the mindfulness @ work programme, which focuses on ordinary people who, like all of us, are faced with pressures of life and would like to take active measures to develop a more balanced approach. Here our first concern is to determine whether a mindfulness-based approach is also helpful for the general population and under what circumstances. In addition we are interested in pin-pointing the main processes of change and development that take place when we develop a more mindful way of life.
Some projects are already under way:
Mindfulness and Eating Behaviour
Peter Malinowski (LJMU), Paul Lattimore (LJMU), Bethan Mead (LJMU), Naomi Fisher (LJMU), Ruth Carson (Liverpool & Sefton Eating Disorders Services)
A PhD studentship funded by LJMU’s Faculty of Science is investigating how dispositional and trained mindfulness are related to eating behaviour (Lattimore, Fisher, & Malinowski. (2011). We are currently preparing the first longitudinal study, where we investigate and evaluate the mindful eating programme, which builds on scientific evidence from our own group as well as evidence coming from other researchers. The aim of the programme is to support participants in developing the mindfulness skills that help in making more healthy food choices.
As part of the research programme we are currently running a comprehensive study which evaluates our mindful eating programme. Building on current scientific evidence and incoprorating extensive experience with meditation practice and with teaching meditation and mindfulness in a variety of contextsPeter Malinowski and Naomi Fisher developed this 7-week programme that aims at support a mindful approach to eating and relationship to food.
In a second project one-year project funded by Mersey Care (NHS Trust) we collaborated with The Liverpool & Sefton Eaiting Disorders Service and investigated the link between dispositional mindfulness and eating disorders.
- Lattimore, P., Fisher, N., & Malinowski, P. (2011). A Cross-sectional Investigation of Trait Disinhibition and its Association with Mindfulness and Impulsivity. Appetite, 56, 241-248. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.12.007