Does mindfulness really provide therapeutic value?  And what about those of us who are healthy: can we benefit?  The answers – very clearly – are yes and yes.

Mindfulness As Therapy. Most research on mindfulness has focused on its value for helping people deal with pain, depression, and anxiety.  The University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness has developed extensive support for the therapeutic effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in dealing with such disorders.  The University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Program for Mindfulness also highlights substantial successful research.

Psychologists use mindfulness in a variety of practices.  Using a cognitive therapy model, MBCT.com provides a host of research, links, and data relating to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. MBCT has substantial and growing research support.  Nor is mindfulness therapy confined to cognitive approaches: using a psychotherapy model, Dr. Peter Strong advocates Mindfulness Meditation Therapy.

Mindfulness to Enhance Life.  Mindfulness, however, is not simply a therapy tool for those who have problems.  As Dr. Ellen Langer emphasizes in her work, mindfulness is a powerful tool for enhancing one’s life experiences.  As noted in my prior post, substantial research by Dr. Langer and others has demonstrated that practicing mindful behaviors increases both awareness and learning.  In my next post on mindfulness I will provide links to resources that focus on using mindfulness to enhance life.

P.S. If you did not Google Dr. Langer already based on my earlier post, here is a great profile on her from the Boston Globe.