You have likely seen a headline or magazine cover touting the benefits of mindfulness for everything from better health to increased productivity at work. The New York Times reveals that “Being Mindful Can Help Guide a Decision.” The Huffington Post shares an Olympic medalist’s “10 Mindfulness Tips for World Record Success, Health and Happiness.” CNN’s Anderson Cooper says that mindfulness “actually is a very easy way for you to live longer.” Mindfulness appears to be the cure-all!
It is enough to make anyone a skeptic. And not without reason! In the midst of the media excitement around mindfulness, it is important to look honestly at what the research shows. To do this, we look mostly at what are called summary or review sources—systematic reviews and meta-analyses that evaluate the individual research studies and base their conclusions on the quality of the evidence, as well as the quantity.
Because these types of review articles search for all the available studies on a topic, appraise their quality, and summarize the results, they are an excellent way to get a more complete and less biased view of the evidence.