Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

 

Some swear by it.

Some swear at the thought of it.

Recently, a study suggested that mindfulness therapy might not be all that.

It seems that mindfulness studies that had negative or neutral results might have been withheld from publication, hence allowing the mindfulness bandwagon to enjoy serene turbo-charging.

But that's the lovely thing about research on popular topics. No sooner has one study passed than another comes along.

And goodness, this one is optimistic.

This research, led by Professor Willem Kuyken -- a clinical psychologist at Oxford University and director of the Oxford Mindfulness Center -- claims to have been the most comprehensive analysis undertaken on the subject.

Its results are startling.

It specifically looked at Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and concluded that those who received it were 31 percent less likely to suffer further depressive symptoms in the 60 weeks following the therapy.

This puts it in a similar realm to results gleaned after using anti-depressant drugs.

The paper says the analysis "clearly shows that patients with greater depressive severity prior to treatment benefit most from treatment."

However, the actual psychological and biological characteristics of those patients are unknown.

Mindfulness practices weren't, the paper explains, developed as therapeutic treatments.

Still, it's hardly surprising that they've been tried.

Much modern thought has attempted to consider what on earth we really are as human beings -- and what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. 

"It makes complete sense to me that this wonderful faculty of thinking can both get us into trouble and also get us out of trouble," Professor Kuyken said.

The fight against negative emotions is rarely easy.

In business, it's almost impossible to escape them. The thought that you can rise above them through the power of thought is, well, a very powerful thought.

Indeed, harnessing our minds is something that that we fail to do at almost every step. If therapy can help us do that, we might even come to like ourselves and feel a little less angst.

How many times have you tried to think your way through a meeting by imagining you're anywhere but in the meeting?

How many ways have you let your mind wander to untold imaginings, rather than stare at one more mindless PowerPoint?

In this case, the researchers say that "the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on basic biobehavioral processes, such as attention and emotion regulation, is being actively addressed in basic research."

Attention and emotion are "key targets in depressive relapse because both biased attention and impairments in emotion regulation are two core psychological processes that are implicated in vulnerability to depressive relapse."

The researchers offered one more bracing thought.

There's evidence that mindfulness therapy might work. Science still doesn't know how.

Published on: Apr 27, 2016