Mindfulness and Happiness in 2017 – Can MBSR help?

Science or Woo Woo?

What have you heard about Mindfulness? Do you think that there is any sound basis for Mindfulness that has been tested scientifically or is it Woo Woo stuff that people only imagine it doing any good in their lives?

if you know something about it, I would love to hear your opinion.

If you don’t know about it, do you want to find out about the

practice that everyone is talking about?

photo of Jon Kabat-Zinn


As a young doctor, Jon Kabat Zinn had visited the East. He became convinced that some of the elements of Buddhism could be useful in treating his patients with chronic severe pain. He gradually developed skills that allowed him to create the MBSR program: Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He downplayed any direct connection between Buddhism and Mindfulness, focusing on the non-secular aspects of Buddha’s books.

MBSR is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, the eventual outcome of Kabat-Zinn’s efforts. This course has been available online for several years.

Since the 1970’s Mindfulness began popping up everywhere. It has been used in business (Google), hospitals, schools, everywhere.

Psychology Today says it works!

It can be done unobtrusively at your desk or waiting in the supermarket line, riding the bus (NEVER DRIVING).

His claims are based on the scientifically proven fact that Mindfulness can help ordinary people like you cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness and discover wonderful insights as well the more you practice.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/stress-is-laughing-matter/201807/meditation-and-mindfulness-stress-relievers-you-should-knowThere are other brilliant teachers that I will share with you along the way to happiness.

Here is the man himself saying it better than anyone else. I was mesmerized the first time I heard him. It takes about 12 minutes.







The Present State of affairs

The Oxford Centre for Mindfulness has found that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) prevents depression inpatients who have experienced recurrent depression. For people who have experienced three or more previous episodes of depression, MBCT reduces the recurrence rate over 12 months by 40–50% compared with usual care. (Crane C et al, “The effects of amount of home meditation practice in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy on relapse to depression in the Staying Well after Depression Trial”, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2014).

MBCT is as effective at reducing recurrence as antidepressants (Williams et al, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for preventing relapse in recurrent depression:

A recent online course in Mindfulness among nearly 300 people revealed these statistics:

  • A 58% reduction in anxiety levels
  • A 57% reduction in depression
  • A 40% reduction in stress

Other research has shown that Mindfulness can reduce stress in work-related rumination, chronic fatigue and improvements in sleep quality.

The areas in which Mindfulness is being trialled is growing.


Autistic Spectrum

Young people

Physical Health

Criminal Justice – Mindfulness practice within criminal justice settings is currently being developed around the country. In HMP Brixton a “Mind/Body Workout Group” was established to help individuals to develop their own mindfulness practice.

Pregnancy -“Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention during pregnancy on prenatal stress and mood: results of a pilot study”, Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 2008).

Workplace – The most famous example is Google. Other companies have adopted Mindfulness practice to improve concentration. Read the article from Mindful Magazine about how it is being a Google employee and how willing the workers were to take the course, an almost ‘I want what you have’ approach. Even cynics were impressed.

Here comes a long list of events that lower your Happiness levels. How do YOU handle them?

Childhood Traumas

Death or a loss

Divorce (or loss)



Moving house

Getting a new job (you’d think this could only be good)

Financial concerns

Social circumstances

Abuse (physical, mental)


Giving birth



Finishing school

Brain injury

Underactive thyroid

Cushing’s syndrome

Celiac disease


Kidney disease

Pyrrole disorder


Heart disease

Crohn’s disease

Candida overgrowth


Multiple Sclerosis


Chronic self-criticism

Debilitating guilt and shame

Being criticised and repeatedly invalidated


Ruminative thinking (see Home and above)

Negative bias

Learned Helplessness

Predisposition based on family history

Deficiency in Vitamin D (sunshine)

Deficiency in B complex

Deficiency in Omega 3 fatty acids

Deficiency in Iron

Deficiency in amino acid

Deficiency in Zinc

Deficiency in Foliate

Deficiency in Silenium

Deficiency in Magnesium

Deficiency in Iodine

Hormonal contraception



It’s a Wonder that Anyone is Happy!!!!! BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF or you can’t fix it.

If any of these apply to you, then Mindfulness will help you to make it not matter just so much.

‘Current literature points towards the potential for mindfulness to affect the structure and neural patterns present in the brain. Scientists have seen these results last not only during mindfulness practice, but also during the daily life of practitioners. The results of one study published in NeuroReport in 2005 show thicker cortical regions related to attention and sensory processing in long-term meditation practitioners compared to non-meditators. These findings also suggest that meditation practice may offset cortical thinning brought on by aging’

(Brief Summary of Mindfulness Research by Greg Flaxman and Lisa Flook, Ph.D.)


Until fairly recently no one believed the brain could change over time. Your brain did not develop through your life. Exciting news is that the brain has plasticity. And Mindfulness Meditation can change and so can your behaviour. We are now squarely in the realms of Neuroscience.

See you soon.