The monitoring-only mindfulness group didn’t experience these changes, suggesting that acceptance skills training may be a critical ingredient for the social benefits of mindfulness training programs, researchers conclude in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
One limitation of the study is that researchers didn’t specifically test the smartphone mindfulness app in lonely or socially isolated adults; people were stressed, but not necessarily suffering from these other problems.
Researchers also lacked data on whether using the mindfulness app might help users make new friends or interact with strangers as opposed to engaging more with people they already know.
How well mindfulness apps work may depend a lot on the individual user and the quality of the app, noted Na Zhang, a psychology researcher at Arizona State University in Temple who wasn’t involved in the study.
“There are still a lot that we don’t know about what dosage, timing, and sequencing of mindfulness training would be effective for what problems in what kinds of people,” Zhang said by email. “So people who are new to mindfulness training could have used an app and found out that it is not very useful, especially without a teacher, and then think that this is not for them.”
Because smartphones are ubiquitous, it’s also possible they could reach people who need help more easily than other interventions or help enhance treatment patients get in person, Zhang added.
“Perhaps by practicing monitoring and acceptance daily, even though for a short period of time, we can feel more at peace and free, more centered, and less affected by the possible negative thoughts and feelings generated in our mind,” Zhang said. “So we are closer to who we really are – we are social beings and we inherently need to connect to others.”
The original version of this story is published on Reuters.
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
— Aerobic exercise eases depression, even in chronically ill
— Justin Bieber opens up about his struggle with depression, asks for prayers
— Newly approved nasal spray relieves depression in hours instead of weeks
— Listening to Music Improves Overall Wellness
— Millennials Beware: Screen Dependency Disorder Is Real