Research evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness in promoting well-being and productivity at work
updated May 2016
Journal of Health Psychology 2013 Oct;32(10):1104-9
Midnfulness practice lowers stress hormones: ‘data suggest a relation between self-reported mindfulness and resting output of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system’.
Association for Psychological Science, March 26, 2013
‘Our results suggest that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with wide reaching consequences.’
McCubbin et al Nov 2014
Research shows positive impact on physical and mental health, work productivity, and reduction in healthcare utilization [and hence less time off work], of employees in mindfulness programme, up to one year afterwards.
Aikens, K. A.et al 2014
Web-based Mindfulness-based interventions found to combat work stress and burnout. 66 employees in Dow Chemical Company significantly improved their ‘resilience, and physical, emotional, and cognitive vigor, and decreased their perceived stress’. A cost-benefit analysis projected possible cost savings of up to $22,580 per year per employee due to decreased employee burnout.
Fortney, L et al 2013
A program with 30 clinicians offered 14 hours of mindfulness instruction over a three-day weekend, followed by two 2-hour post-training sessions; this led to ‘significant decreases in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, anxiety, and stress, and significant increases in a sense of personal accomplishment. All of these differences were significant at nine-month follow-up.’
Sharma and Rush, 2014
In a review of 17 research studies of 8 week mindfulness programmes, 16 demonstrated positive changes .. related to anxiety and/or stress… mindfulness-based stress reduction appears to be a promising modality for stress management.
Chiesa A, Calati R, Serretti A, 2011
Findings … provided preliminary evidence suggesting that MMPs could enhance cognitive functions… early phases of mindfulness training could be associated with significant improvements in selective and executive attention, whereas the following phases could be mainly associated with improved unfocused sustained attention abilities.
The Ashridge Journal, 2011
Preliminary findings suggest a significantly upwards shift in general levels of satisfaction for individuals who commit to a period of mindfulness…. 61% noted ‘feeling of calm’, 30% listed ‘having time to themselves’, 22% of the items listed related to improved sleep, and 22% also cited ‘having a different perspective’.
IF Insurance, 2010
An independent evaluation of a mindfulness programme found, based on participant’s self-assessment, that:
88% of participants reporting “a highly increased ability to stay focused”
76% of participants reporting “highly increased positive relationships within their teams“.
68% of participants reporting “highly increased personal efficiency and productivity”
60% of participants reporting “highly increased ability to counteract stress”
Transport for London, 2010
After a mindfulness programme with 600 staff, there was a 70% drop in time off work for anxiety or stress, and a 50% drop in absenteeism for any other reason.
Department of Economics University of Warwick, 2011
Happier workers, research found, were 12 percent more productive.
Unhappier workers were 10 percent less productive.
Levy et al, University of Washington Seattle, 2012
Mindfulness and meditation training in a high-stress information environment indicated improved capacity for multitasking, staying on tasks longer, less negative emotion after task performance, and improved memory for the tasks they performed.
Erik Dane and Bradley J Brummel 2014
In examining workplace mindfulness and its relations to job performance and turnover intention, the study found that there was a positive relationship between workplace mindfulness and job performance, and less tendency to leave the job.
Shauna Shapiro, Greater Good talk 2014
“When we are happy, there is a greater proportion of activity in the left pre frontal cortex. Experienced meditators have higher left ratio. With a randomized control group and mindfulness trainees, after 4 months, the left side was more active. Changing external circumstances, negative or positive – job, relationships, health etc – do not change your level of happiness long term. Mindfulness can, because the very structure of our brain can be changed through training. What we practice, becomes stronger.”