Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Some evidence now points to mindfulness meditation having beneficial effects on, at least, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness consists of paying attention to present moment experience with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance. MBP main effects on anxiety and depression are becoming well known.
Many varieties of meditation exist. They depend on where is the attention focused, how intensely, and whether the focus moves (for instance from a body part to another) or is fixed. A common way to begin mindfulness practice is with “concentration” meditation, for example, focusing attention on a given object and returning attention to the object when the mind wanders. Open awareness meditation is another taught form of practice. In this method, attention is allowed to encompass any object in consciousness. In some meditation practices, a particular positive state is cultivated through visualization and mantra practice. This meditation is common in loving-kindness and compassion practice. The temporal variation of meditation practice can range anywhere from the briefest for instance a minute to intensive silent retreats of weeks, months, or even years.
The most rigorously standardized and studied examples are mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. These MBPs have mostly shown to benefit participants by reducing or even preventing depression. The amount of MBP participants practice appears to be related to the magnitude of benefit derived from the practice.
However, adhering to a meditation practice routine can require effort from the participant, so it is possible that participants with higher well-being levels would be less likely to drop out. On the other hand, participants with less well-being might feel more motivated to improve their situation.
Even though the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy are known, there is a lack of
information and studies that show exactly how practising meditation during an MBP causes well-being to improve. There is also an interest in how wellbeing affects meditation. Another question is how varying quantities of meditation practice during an MBP affect participants’ well-being gains from the practice.
New research, named "The relationship between mindfulness meditation and well-being during 8 weeks of ecological momentary assessment", analyzed how meditation practice predicted changes in well-being, and vice versa, at a weekly level, within an 8-week online MBP.
Results suggested that well-being improvement, from mindfulness meditation, is an ongoing process. Ecological momentary assessment is thought to be a promising methodology for studies.