We do mindfulness science
to help shape the next generation of mindfulness research, practice, and policy.
Our key aims are to
Explore the opportunities and limitations of mindfulness initiatives in innovative settings to advance theory and debate.
Inspire new ideas to help widen access to mindfulness science for a broader and more diverse range of populations.
Share knowledge about evidence-based mindfulness programmes with a particular emphasis on examining how and when they may benefit society.
Find out how we are achieving these aims by exploring our different research themes:
Anxiety in autism+
Children, adolescents and adults with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are approximately 5 times more likely to suffer from debilitating anxiety disorders and depression than their non-autistic peers. Our research seeks to identify the psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms responsible for this increased vulnerability to mental health difficulties, and to inform strategies for effective intervention. In this context we are interested in evaluating whether mindfulness-based practices are helpful for supporting the mental health of individuals with ASD.
Health behaviour change+
We are interested in whether mindfulness can be used to change health related behaviours such as diet, physical activity and smoking. We are also interested in the mechanisms underlying such effects and whether certain mindfulness practices may be more or less helpful for different types of people. Recent research in this area has looked at mindful eating and the effects of decentering strategies on cravings for cigarettes and for chocolate.
Identifying effects and mechanisms+
Many mindfulness interventions incorporate lots of different strategies and practices. Whilst such interventions may be effective, they often require substantial time and resources that can limit access and uptake. At CEMR we are interested in whether all parts of such interventions are effective, or whether some parts may be redundant, or even counterproductive. We are also interested in finding out exactly how such interventions work. This is important because it can help us determine when an intervention is, and is not, likely to be beneficial, and how we might tailor or target it to maximise effects. We draw on psychological theory and experimental methods to help answer such questions.
We are developing and evaluating mindfulness interventions to improve adjustment in people with neurological conditions. This work has attracted funding from a number of organisations including the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Parkinson’s UK. We are also evaluating the effects of mindfulness interventions for carers and people with dementia, traumatic brain injuries, hydrocephalus and spina bifida in clinical and community settings.
Mindfulness in schools+
We have been looking at whether brief, daily audio-guided mindfulness meditation practice can have benefits for school children, for example in terms of academic attainment. We have also been looking at whether a short mindfulness intervention delivered before a test can reduce anxiety among children who think their maths and English scores will be compared by gender.
We are interested in understanding the neural mechanisms underpinning mindfulness training as well as the role of body perception. For example, we have been looking at changes in neural correlates associated with body attention, emotion processing and interoception in people undergoing 8 weeks of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
Workplace mental health, wellbeing and performance+
Individuals and teams in workplaces differ from the populations who have helped build the solid evidence base on clinical and mental health mindfulness interventions (MIs). This is why we are investigating new approaches to bringing mindfulness to organisations, drawing on a broad range of scientific literatures in mindfulness. We are examining the potential of mindfulness for generating culture change in the Armed Forces to enable individuals and teams to sustainably be and do well. We also evaluate MIs that are based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an intervention approach that combines mindfulness and acceptance processes with values clarification and behavioural activation strategies. Our recent ACT intervention work has been funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund and the British Academy, and is building on an impact case study that was published in 2014: https://impact.ref.ac.uk/casestudies/CaseStudy.aspx?Id=44349.
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Brilliant publication news led by our own Dr Seb Gaigg @cityarg: Widely available online mindfulness tools reduce #anxiety in #autistic adults through self-guided #mindfulness and cognitive behavioural practices @MindfulnessCity #CityMindful @CityUniLondon @CityUniPsych https://t.co/lPhxQZ5zJM
Who else feels this new stressor? "I notice pressure to make the most out of lockdown time: learn a language/write a book/paint"... Great sharing during our #mindfulness lunchtime dropin. Join us every Mon/Wed/Fri from 1230-1300 https://t.co/3Q6w6rvwZz #CityMindful @CityUniLondon https://t.co/LdhBiKggWY
Sound stuff: Submarine captain’s advice on social isolation https://t.co/q6KgkcYBao
Our 3x/week #mindfulness lunchtime dropin sessions for @CityUniLondon people will return after Easter. Many thankyous to all who've been part of our growing community so far! Stay safe & till next Wed! Join here https://t.co/3Q6w6rvwZz #CityMindful @MindfulnessCity @CityUniPsych https://t.co/eXRXvyFA7s
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the lunchtime mindfulness drop-in session yesterday on MS Teams. Lots of smiles, connection, and self-care. Join us on Mon/Wed/Fri from 12:30-1pm @CityUniLondon @CityUniPsych @City_OrgPshyc #CityMindful https://t.co/3Q6w6rvwZz https://t.co/G4w9mNgjX1
Must-read on science on #COVID19: Testing is crucial to lower infection rates. When infected people don’t know they’re infected, they may not stay home – thereby running the risk of infecting others. “It’s vital that efforts are increased in this regard” https://t.co/E5m53WlmNv