Understanding the Effects of Mindfulness on Health and Happiness

Drs. Lilian Cheung and Kirsten Davison will lead an effort to document and compare the effects of mindfulness-based practices on health. Focusing initially on students in therapeutic programs in Boston (with possible expansion to other populations in Boston and relevant populations in Hong Kong), the study will explore both the immediate and the longer-term effects of specific behaviors, such as attentive breathing, thoughtful eating, adequate sleep, and physical activity, on health and emotional well-being.

Given the importance of individual choice and behavior in influencing noncommunicable diseases (such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease) and mental health issues (such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder), understanding the effects of mindfulness practice on human choice, behavior, and health represents an important research goal with great potential for large-scale impact.