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Adherence and Evidence of Effectiveness of Informal Mindfulness Practices: A Systematic Review

August 2020


Despite the vast body of evidence pointing to the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBI), mindfulness is not a one-size-fits-all, and many populations find barriers towards its integration into daily life. Among the most critical barriers is adherence to formal mindfulness practices (FMP). Long and quiet meditation may not be suitable for all, and adverse effects have been reported. Informal mindfulness practices (IMP) can be an alternative. However, little is known about IMP adherence and potential differential effects when compared to FMP; moreover, there is a need for an overall look into what has been investigated and reported. The present study presents a systematic review, focusing on IMP publications, adherence to its practice, and specific effects on outcomes among MBIs. Specifically, this study’s objective is to answer the following three key questions: 1) What does the latest research tell us about the definition of IMP?, 2) What do we know about the adherence to IMP among MBI participants, and 3) Are there differential effects between FMP and IMP? The search was conducted from 2015 to 2020 in the following databases: PubMed, WOS, Medline, Scielo, Cochrane, Science Direct, Scopus, and Google Scholar. After an extensive selection process, 18 articles were included in the study. Results demonstrated several gaps within the IMP research, ranging from limited operationalization (i.e., definitions and means of tracking), to contradictory results. As informal mindfulness tends to be the preferred practice among MBI participants, these outcomes highlight a substantial limitation within the mindfulness field that needs to be addressed.


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18 Sep 2020
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