The rising popularity of online programs like Lumosity and in-person programs like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) signal a growing interest in meditation and other forms of mental training. Mirroring this groundswell of popular interest, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that meditation may impact both psychological and physical health, including our capacity to cope with stress and to regulate attention and emotional reactivity. This cultural paradigm shift calls for impactful well-being training programs that are accessible and based in rigorous science.
Center researchers are developing Healthy Minds to teach scientifically-informed practices and principles that facilitate well-being. In the same way that exercise and diet contribute to physical health, meditation and other forms of mental training can also be beneficial in contributing to mental health and well-being. We know that lasting well-being cannot be achieved by short-term interventions, but rather that enduring changes in the mind must be systematically cultivated and sustained. This can be accomplished by incorporating simple contemplative exercises into one’s daily routine and supporting these practices at home and in the workplace.
The project has brought together experts in the fields of science and contemplative practice to create a comprehensive program that will support individuals in the cultivation of well-being over the course of their lifespan. The training is pragmatic and experiential, integrating scientific insights with secular meditation practices that are easy to learn. These practices teach important skills that underlie the cultivation of well-being, including mindfulness, kindness, compassion and self-inquiry. This core training is supported by online and mobile apps, in-person programs led by senior scientists and meditation experts, and a variety of resources to reinforce the benefits of the training.
Our program is the first of its kind to incorporate rigorous scientific assessments into the very fabric of the training in order to further our understanding of the nature of well-being, how it can be cultivated, and the relationship between well-being and a variety of real-world outcomes.