Mindfulness has been found among hundreds of research papers to assist emotion regulation, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and improve concentration. Mindfulness practice has been found to increase creativity, improve sleep, well being, cognition, focus and feelings of happiness. Mindfulness has been reported as an effective intervention to foster resilience and reduce stress among community care professionals.
Standing out from the research, relevant to symptoms of compassion fatigue are two key studies that relate directly to improvement in experiences from practicing mindfulness.
An 8 week study of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction that found an increase of grey matter density in the hippocampus, the area in the brain that supports learning, memory and emotional regulation. The study also found a reduction in brain cell volume in the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for stress, fear and anxiety.
This second stand out study found that mindfulness training reduced mind ‘wandering’ by decreasing activity in the default mode network, the parts in the brain responsible for this occurring. Mind wandering is associated with unhappiness, unhelpful ruminating and negative thoughts, enhancing this finding, it was found that when the mind wanders, people practicing mindfulness are more able to regain focus and snap out of negative thoughts.