What is Mindfulness?


y its simplest definition, mindfulness is a practice of remaining fully mental present “in the moment.” Mindfulness can be thought of as a form of meditation where the purpose is to guide one’s attention back to the immediate environment whenever it is distracted.

Mindfulness has been a part of spiritual practices around the world for thousands of years. It features prominently in world religions. However, mindfulness is not a religious practice. By fostering the ability to focus attention at will, it can produce mental health benefits.

What Conditions Can Mindfulness Treat or Cure?

Information about the benefits of mindfulness has been gathered for centuries. However, modern science has only explored the topic over the last few decades. Mindfulness is not known to treat or cure any condition, but it is associated with positive mental health results.

In particular, mindfulness changes the way the individual responds to stress. Stress is a contributor to a host of conditions affecting mind and body. When someone lacks healthy coping mechanisms for stress, many body systems must “work overtime” to manage it.

Of all the problems stress plays a role in, cardiovascular health may be the most visible. Chronic levels of high stress contribute to high blood pressure, which makes stroke and heart attack more likely. Heart disease, in turn, kills 1 in every 4 American adults.

Aside from stress reduction, these other benefits have been attributed to mindfulness:

  • Greater emotional resilience, leading to lower incidence of depression and anxiety
  • Increased levels of concentration, focus, and memory, both at work and at home
  • Improved sleep quality and reduction of most sleep disturbances, such as insomnia
  • Direct benefits for sufferers of chronic pain and chronic gastrointestinal problems

Mindfulness is effective alone and as part of therapy, but it cannot replace therapy for those who need it. Its mental health benefits are largely due to reduced rumination, repetitively “replaying” a negative thought without reaching any conclusion.

What Research Currently Exists Around Mindfulness?

Since literature about mindfulness stretches back centuries, many researchers are interested to discover which benefits can be proven. Many positive effects have been validated in mindfulness clinical trials and mindfulness studies in the lab.

Many mindfulness clinical studies have focused on measuring changes in emotional affect, or mood, in groups taught to practice mindfulness. Some studies have used advanced imaging to map practitioners’ brains during mindfulness practices.

One of the most interesting results in mindfulness research has to do with relationships. Studies in 2007 and 2008 suggested people who practice mindfulness tend to have higher relationship satisfaction. They discuss emotions and respond to relationship stress better.

Why Are Further Mindfulness Clinical Trials Important?

Further studies are crucial in discovering how the benefits of mindfulness can reach more people and extend to more situations. For example, mindfulness studies on how children and teens can best learn about it are still in the early stages.

Mindfulness clinical trials may be used to help a variety of populations at risk of specific health concerns, including the elderly and pregnant women. It may also help people replace unhealthy emotional coping mechanisms, such as the use of alcohol.

Current Mindfulness Clinical Trials

These are the latest mindfulness clinical trials listed by ClinicalTrials.gov. To have a clinical trial added to our website, simply contact our team.

  • MINDFUL-PC for Portuguese Speakers Pilot Study 2020
    on February 13, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Depression;   Anxiety Disorders;   Stress Related Disorder;   Adjustment Disorders;   Chronic IllnessIntervention:   Behavioral: Mindfulness Training for Primary CareSponsors:   Cambridge Health Alliance;   National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)Recruiting

  • CALM Pregnancy: Feasibility of Calm for Pregnant Women
    on February 11, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   Pregnant WomenIntervention:   Behavioral: Calm AppSponsors:   Arizona State University;   Valley Perinatal ServicesRecruiting

  • Group Therapy for Fibromyalgia:the Effectiveness of Mindfulness -Based VS Cognitive-behavioral Therapy
    on February 11, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Fibromyalgia;   PTSD;   Depression;   Stress;   Sleep DisturbanceInterventions:   Other: cognitive behavioral group therapy;   Other: Mindfulness-based group therapySponsor:   Bar-Ilan University, IsraelRecruiting

  • Mindfulness and Shared Decision Making
    on February 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   Liver DiseasesIntervention:   Other: assess the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on inpatients' and outpatients' stress, patient-provider communication, and other measures of SDM at MDMC.Sponsor:   Methodist Health SystemRecruiting

  • Sustainable Mindfulness and Resilience Training (SMART)
    on January 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Caregiver Stress;   Autism Spectrum DisorderIntervention:   Behavioral: Mindfulness trainingSponsor:   University of California, San FranciscoRecruiting

  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Associated With Mindfulness in Chronic Migraine
    on January 7, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   MigraineIntervention:   Device: Transcranial direct current stimulationSponsor:   Federal University of ParaíbaRecruiting

  • Mindfulness and Self-compassion Focussed Walking
    on December 10, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Breast Cancer;   FatigueInterventions:   Behavioral: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion focussed exercises during walking training;   Behavioral: Walking trainingSponsors:   Charite University, Berlin, Germany;   Sana-Klinikum LichtenbergRecruiting

  • Virginia Commonwealth University Stress Reduction Study
    on December 9, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   StressInterventions:   Behavioral: mindfulness training;   Behavioral: cognitive reappraisal trainingSponsor:   Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRecruiting

  • Efficacy of NAT-FM Treatment for Fibromyalgia
    on December 9, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   FibromyalgiaInterventions:   Behavioral: TAU + multicomponent treatment NAT-FM;   Behavioral: Treatment as Usual (TAU)Sponsors:   Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron Research Institute;   Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu;   Universitat Autonoma de BarcelonaRecruiting

  • iMeditate at Home for Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment and Caregivers
    on December 3, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Mild Cognitive Impairment;   CaregiversIntervention:   Behavioral: Mindfulness meditation delivered via a mobile appSponsors:   Baycrest;   Center for Aging and Brain Health Innovation;   InteraXon, Inc.Recruiting

  • Effectiveness of a Mindfulness Smartphone App to Reduce Emotional Distress in People With Cancer Waiting for Surgery
    on December 3, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   CancerIntervention:   Behavioral: Staying Calm in the ORSponsor:   Instituto de Investigación Hospital Universitario La PazRecruiting

  • Mindfulness and Romantic Relationship Quality
    on November 26, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   The Focus of the Study is Romantic Relationship QualityIntervention:   Behavioral: Mindfulness interventionSponsors:   University of Delaware;   Carnegie Mellon UniversityRecruiting

  • Feasability and Clinical Impact Study of Non Pharmacological Interventions in Management of Chronic Pain
    on November 25, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Chronic Pain;   Slackline;   Mindfulness;   Adapted Physical Activity;   Self-hypnosis;   Qi GongIntervention:   Other: a systematic proposal for non pharmacological interventions targeting the subject's empowerment among slackline, mindfulness, adapted physical activity, self-hypnosis, and Qi GongSponsors:   University Hospital, Grenoble;   Hospices Civils de Lyon;   Groupe Hospitalier Mutualiste de GrenobleRecruiting

  • SMART Stepped Care Management for Low Back Pain in the Military Health System
    on November 21, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Low Back Pain;   Chronic Pain;   Military Personnel;   VeteransInterventions:   Behavioral: Physical Therapy;   Behavioral: Move 2 Health (M2H);   Behavioral: MORE MindfulnessSponsors:   Brooke Army Medical Center;   University of Utah;   National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)Recruiting

  • Mindfulness and Compassion-based Programs on Food Behavior of Patients With Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery
    on November 21, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   ObesityInterventions:   Behavioral: Mindfulness-Based Health Promotion + Treatment as usual;   Behavioral: Attachment-based compassion therapy + Treatment as usual;   Behavioral: Treatment as usualSponsor:   Centro Mente Aberta de MindfulnessRecruiting

  • Mindfulness Meditation and Bariatric Surgery
    on November 19, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Opioid Use;   Bariatric Surgery Candidate;   Pain, PostoperativeInterventions:   Behavioral: Daily text message;   Behavioral: Mindfulness interventionSponsor:   Cedars-Sinai Medical CenterRecruiting

  • Telehealth Pilot for Veterans With Chronic Multi-Symptom Illness.
    on November 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   Chronic Multisymptom IllnessInterventions:   Behavioral: Directed instruction of the combined intervention of physical activity and mindfulness meditation;   Behavioral: Self-guided practice of the combined intervention of physical activity and mindfulness meditationSponsors:   War Related Illness and Injury Study Center;   Georgetown University;   Uniformed Services University of the Health SciencesRecruiting

  • Mindfulness for at Risk Youth: Understanding Substance Use and Important Mechanisms of Change
    on November 13, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Alcohol Use, Underage;   Alcohol Problem Drinking;   Substance UseInterventions:   Behavioral: Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention;   Behavioral: Control (CTL)Sponsor:   University of Southern CaliforniaRecruiting

  • Mindfulness IN-home for Diabetes and Sleep Health
    on November 12, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Diabetes;   Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2Intervention:   Behavioral: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) InterventionSponsors:   Emory University;   Georgia Center for Diabetes Translation Research;   National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)Recruiting

  • The Effects of the Pilgrimage in the Way of Saint James on Mental Health and Well-being (ULTREYA)
    on October 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Condition:   PilgrimageIntervention:   Sponsors:   Fundació Sant Joan de Déu;   Fundació Institut de Recerca de l'Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau;   Universidad de Zaragoza;   Federal University of São PauloRecruiting


Mindfulness has been known for centuries, but its benefits are only starting to be understood. Doctors and patients can work together to lift the veil on this intriguing practice and learn how to use its lessons to promote mental and physical wellness.