Mindfulness Does Not Improve Impulse Control


Mindfulness can be seen as a panacea for all things these these days. However, it needs to be subjected to more rigorous study in order to ascertain what its potential benefits can be. For those who are naturally drawn to the approach, they will tend to accept its effectiveness without question. However, we must all be prepared to challenge our own beliefs. This is why I was very drawn to this study by the Center for Healthy Minds, based at Madison-Wisconsin University. The Center combine neuroscience with mindfulness and always produce high quality and insightful research. So whilst they are very pro-mindfulness, they have retained scientific integrity at the same time. This is why this recent study published in Nature is very interesting. Their study found that mindfulness had little impact on poor impulse control in adult patients. This is an important finding in the use of mindfulness for poor impulse control conditions such as Personality Disorder and Addictions. To read the full research article, click here.

I am currently piloting a programme exploring the use of mindfulness to reduce pain discomfort in inpatient detox settings. As physical withdrawal severity is influenced by psychological expectancy, I think that this remains the most promising application of the approach based on the current evidence. However, good science and progress comes from smashing idols. The Center for Healthy Minds have shown that they are prepared to challenge their own thinking with the evidence before them, and that is why they will advance our understanding.


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