Mindfulness No Better Than Watching TV

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firemonkee57

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#1
Written by Steven Novella February 6 2018


A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of mindfulness meditation on prosocial behavior found, essentially, that there is no evidence that it works. I find these results entirely unsurprising, and they yet again highlight the need for rigorous research before concluding that a phenomenon is real.

For those of you who have tried it,what do you think?


Mindfulness No Better Than Watching TV | NeuroLogica Blog
 
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Macka

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#2
I've tried to register on the site to make a comment but haven't received my activation email. Maybe that's a good thing.

I'm absolutely gobsmacked at the ignorance of some people who claim intelligence and the right to criticise other people's scientific studies.

During Steven Novella's diatribe of endless critique, the term 'Mindfulness meditation' morphs into 'mindfulness'. This probably peeved me off more than anything tbh. They're two very different practices as we, who suffer anxiety/panic, know too well.

He puts mindfulness in the same category as ESP!!! What the *! Has he never heard of a little thing called the adrenal gland or dopamine?

Whew! Anyone who wants to read this dribble might want to rethink their objective because it's nothing but ignorance personified!

Thanks for the heads up Firemonkey. I needed a boost of kick arse adrenaline to get the rest of my housework done.

Macka :mad:
 
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nightmare57

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#3
Mindfulness didn't helps me, maybe because I'm a man (it's meant to work better for females) But I loved going to my local mindfulness class at the church hall. I made some good friends and I could be open about my issues without judgement. We had a very good instructor, is was nice to offload before the session while drinking our coffees. I think that part worked the best for me.
 
Macka

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#4
I want to apologise for off-the-cuff remarks in my previous post; it was very emotive. I support credible research in mental health and having gone thru my own recovery process, I found it personally offensive.

I've meditated prior to the onset of PTSD which worked incredibly well. After though, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, body shakes and ruminating made it impossible to achieve a relaxed state.

Mindfulness on the other hand was extremely integral in my recovery, helping me ground and be present, out of my head and into the physical environment. In other words, it gave me an opportunity to get my life back and manage symptoms.

I've never heard of mindfulness meditation; it seems a contradiction in terms. One is going within, the other is becoming alert, aware and actively participating with eyes wide open.

This point alone makes Novella's chosen research and his review of it irrelevant and a waste of time - IMO.

He did make some valid points re ethics, control group, hypothesis and outcome, but was poorly communicated. They seemed a combination of baseless personal opinion mixed with unbiased observation. His description of the research and the study itself made no mention of cognitive function or bio chemical response. Not a credible read I'm afraid.
 
Kerome

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#5
Well I’ve found mindfulness quite valuable as a technique. It encourages introspection and insight, which watching tv typically does not, so I don’t know were they are getting their facts from.
 
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Twokiwisandabanana

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#6
omg mindfulness and meditation changed my life.
I'm able to cope in life better due to that.
 
Cazcat

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#7
I have found mindfulness incredibly helpful for PTSD, it really noticibly reduced my anxiety levels when I did it first thing in the morning. It also helped me ward off manic attacks. My husband has also found mindfulness very helpful when he has been recovering from a psychotic episode.
 
SunnyDaze

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#8
I didn't like the article at all,but,I guess to each their own.

Mindfulness has been very beneficial to me.Being aware of what's going on in the present moment is one of things that helped me with dissociation.It also helps to ground me,helps get me out of negative thinking and helps with obsessive thoughts.

Mindful meditation is something my therapist taught me to stop panic.He said it would work every time if I just focus on my breath.If my mind wanders,he said just go back to focusing on my breath and it would always calm me down.It does work if I can keep that focus,which I am not always able to do.

He also taught me how to focus on just about anything during those meditations,as a way to find answers to things,get to know myself,improve things about myself,etc.I always thought meditation meant to clear my mind completely,no thoughts at all,but he taught me that it's more about just observing those thoughts,allowing them to be there.

Maybe his definition and his way is different than others,I know I have read many different things online and in books,but his way has really helped me.
 
SunnyDaze

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#9
Forgot to say that my therapist explained that mindful meditation is simply meditating with a specific purpose in mind ahead of time,being 'mindful' of that purpose in order to receive what I am seeking.

And I have found it very helpful.I just allow my mind to go wherever it wants to related to whatever it is I am meditating on.
 
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ramboghettouk

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#10
having spent all day listening to my neighbours tv booming out this authoritarian voice through the floor boards, i think those who say mindfulness is worse than tv must be part of the tv establishment
 
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#11
I was a little curious after reading the title of the thread . I think TV is marvelous but in terms of treatment/therapeutic benefit I'm a big fan of Mindfullness and meditation. Both incredibly useful to some people. I honestly feel both have helped me beyond what I've experienced from medication or talking therapies.
I'm aware that many simply can't meditate so it's not for everyone.
Kind Regards
John
 
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Pollypop

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#12
H I John, I’m really pleased that you have found mindfulness and meditation useful.
I have attempted mindfulness but my my mind wanders away. I have been told not to worry but
just bring myself back. I found this very reassuring as I thought I was doing something wrong and
failing.

My problem is that I cannot get myself into the routine of doing either mindfulness or meditation.
This, despite knowing they help.

Maybe it’s just practice but I feel need to work on my discipline.
I am rather lazy I think.

If not too intrusive, are you on any medication?
No need to answer if you feel I am being impertinent or insensitive.

Best wishes, Pollypop
 
Bizzarebitrary

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#13
The study doesn't suggest what some of you believe it does

The study Dr. Novella refers to examined mindfulness meditation's effects on healthy adults - not people with mental health issues. We are a community of people living with mental illness therefore we are outside the scope of the study. If you believe as I do, that mindfulness is a helpful practice, go on believing it because this study doesn't contradict that view.

I read the study as linked my Dr. Novella and I couldn't find any mention of TV. I don't know why it's mentioned in his article I assume he's referring to it as a common relaxation technique. Can anyone provide some clarity? In any case, when my symptoms of anxiety or depression are troubling me I'm not often conveniently at home where I can relax and watch my favorite show whereas I'm able attempt mindfulness meditation no matter where I am. Try not to let the title of the article trigger you.

Finally, the study looked at mindfulness meditation's impact on prosocial behavior. It's unfortunate that Dr. Novella didn't define that term at the beginning of his article as I believe it isn't commonly understood as it's inverse, antisocial behavior. As most or all of us suffer with anxiety and/or depression and maybe other disorders, I feel it's necessary to note that the study has nothing whatsoever to say about mindfulness techniques such as meditation with respect to these disorders.

I'm familiar with Steven Novella's work in connection with skepticism and revealing the truth about sham medicine and unproven practices that are nonetheless popular. I'm a fan of his work. My reaction to this article is not disappointment. Rather, I feel it's "Interesting to know though it doesn't apply to me or how I use it or why I believe it helps me."

I hope this clears up some misunderstandings.

- Bizzarebitrary
 
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JohnE

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#14
H I John, I’m really pleased that you have found mindfulness and meditation useful.
I have attempted mindfulness but my my mind wanders away. I have been told not to worry but
just bring myself back. I found this very reassuring as I thought I was doing something wrong and
failing.

My problem is that I cannot get myself into the routine of doing either mindfulness or meditation.
This, despite knowing they help.

Maybe it’s just practice but I feel need to work on my discipline.
I am rather lazy I think.

If not too intrusive, are you on any medication?
No need to answer if you feel I am being impertinent or insensitive.

Best wishes, Pollypop
Hi Pollypop
I think I'm quite fortunate that I can practice Mindfullness easily and do set aside specific time for it , but mostly I feel it is about my day to day connection with the world around me , so always present .
Maybe these things are always best when we adapt them to suit our own lives.

Meditation is a bit different I needed /need to be very disciplined with myself and set a time to do it , otherwise I tend to procrastinate . Often though I also do it just when the mood takes me .
I read a good book , Mindfullness , how to find peace in a frantic world . It is quite an easy book to read , this was important to hold my concentration. It also contains guided meditations that are also available on the internet. I use those guided meditations and find them helpful .
There are 8 I think but I tend to use my favourite 3 most often . On good days when I'm particularly connected I experience something quite wonderful towards the end of one of them , the full body scan It's difficult to describe but as close to being totally at ease as I could ever hope to find .

These guided meditations are very good at helping you understand that it's ok for your mind to wander , and gently bring yourself back to the meditation.

I also taught myself yoga , which also helped a great deal , sadly I no longer do this at the moment .

Pollypop I' m always very open about mental health so don't mind at all you asking about medication .
I do understand that Mindfullness and meditation isnt for everyone , but I value both as things that help me .

I've been on 300mg of Trazodone for about 8 years . It's the best ive ever had .
I've not experienced any bad side effects at all . Ive taken many different ones over the years and the side effects put me off taking any for a long time . The Trazodone helps with day to day general low level anxiety .
The best thing with it is if I take it a few hours after food I get an amazing nights sleep . It was actually prescribed with this I mind because I had trouble sleeping. With the Trazodone I'm often asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow ( I'm sure that's not true , but it certainly feels like it )

Best wishes
John