11. Smartphones can teach mindfulness
7 April, 2015
Rachel in Annika Howells, Emotional intelligence and mindfulness, Happiness, Meditation, Meditation for wellbeing and health, Mindfulness, Mindfulness and technology, Positive emotions, smartphone

Summary written by Rachel Green, Director of The Emotional Intelligence Institute.

A mindfulness study

"Putting the ‘app’ in Happiness: A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Intervention to Enhance Wellbeing", by Annika Howells, Itai Ivtzan, and Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa. Published in Journal of Happiness Studies, 29th October 2014.

Can you use your smartphone to help you develop mindfulness and as a consequence feel better?

This is the basic question asked by this study, which was conducted as part of a positive psychology Masters degree by Australian based, Annika Howells, at the University of East London.

There are many different Apps available which are said to improve one's wellbeing but the driving question behind Annika's research was "are they effective?".

Very few Apps have been evaluated scientifically, until this point.

In this study mindfulness is defined as the practice of non-judgmental awareness of present moment experiences.

If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness and meditation, and the positive research outcomes that have resulted from studies into their results, then this paper provides some very useful material.

There is no doubt in the scientific literature that mindfulness has a positive impact on people's emotions and it is therefore an important methodology in emotional intelligence development.

Annika and her colleagues state: By researching long-term meditators and delivering mindfulness-based training to novice meditators, scientists are building a deeper understanding of the multiple pathways influenced by the practice, that lead to greater psychological health.

Mindfulness methodology

  1. A  randomized-control trial was conducted. Subjects self-selected in response to advertisements on social media and in newsletters inviting volunteers to participate in a wellbeing study on their phones.
  2. Subjects were randomly assigned to a mindfulness intervention (n = 57) or a control intervention (n = 64) for 10 days.
  3. Headspace On-The-Go was the free smartphone application used by the mindfulness intervention group. Participants had to engage with simple daily activities based on mindfulness practice for 10 mins a day.
  4. The control group engaged in a neutral task using a list-making application called Catch Notes. They were asked to write a list of what they did on a particular day for 10 mins a day over 10 days.

Want to learn how to meditate? Our professionally produced recordings "Happy not hassled" explain how to meditate, what to do if you think you can't and how to manage your emotions through meditation, and they include four guided meditations of different lengths and types so you can practise in the comfort of your own home.

MP3s: $29 (US). Add to Cart

Mindfulness results

Results showed for the mindfulness intervention group:

  1. Statistically significant increases in positive affect with a medium effect size.
  2. Reduced depressive symptoms with a small effect size.
  3. Positive correlatations between ratings of task enjoyment and an increase in positive affect.
  4. No statistically significant changes in satisfaction with life, flourishing or negative affect.

No statistically significant gains were observed in the control group.

Mindfulness implications by the authors

The results support the viability of the Headspace On-The-Go smartphone-based intervention to significantly enhance elements of wellbeing in the short-term.

Smartphone-based interventions may be able to play a significant role in the daily practice of mindfulness and the development of wellbeing and happiness.

Mindfulness comments by Rachel 

Full article is available here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-014-9589-1

Want to gain the benefits of meditation? You can do it now using our professional recordings "Happy not hassled". There are four guided meditations of different lengths and types for you and instructions on how to meditate.

MP3s: $29 (US). Add to Cart
Please note: Depression occurs to varying degrees, and takes on different forms. Please seek the professional help you need. Mindfulness and meditation are not a cure-all for all depression problems.
Article originally appeared on The Emotional Intelligence Institute (http://www.theeiinstitute.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.