'Mindfulness' meditation fad popular with celebrities can make you dream up false memories
Mindfulness is the fashionable form of meditation that fans say makes you feel less stressed.
But scientists have discovered one potential drawback – it can lead you to ‘remember’ things that haven’t happened.
People taking part in a 15-minute mindfulness session performed worse than those who did not on a memory test, researchers found.
The group who had been undertaking mindfulness were more liable to falsely imagine items on the test.
Mindfulness has become popular in recent years as a way to improve mental and physical well-being.
Celebrities endorsing it include Emma Watson, Davina McCall, Angelina Jolie and Oprah Winfrey.
An Oxford University study found that following mindfulness procedures – focusing on breathing and suspending judgment and criticism – was effective at treating depression.
Many schools encourage their pupils to practise mindfulness – but the new findings may lead to questions over whether it might be best avoided ahead of exams.
It might also be unhelpful for witnesses trying to recall whether they saw or heard something in court.
The findings, published in Psychological Science, show that participants who engaged in a 15-minute mindfulness meditation session were less able to differentiate items they actually encountered from items they only imagined.
Brent Wilson, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, said: ‘Our results highlight an unintended consequence of mindfulness meditation: memories may be less accurate.
[TBC: From the April 2006 newsletter: Psychotherapy is an exercise in futility unless innate goodness resides within man at his very core. Here’s why: if man has an evil nature, as the Bible teaches, then it’s impossible for him to change himself. In other words, if I’m innately evil, I will always be evil because there is nothing within me to enable me to change . But if I’m good within but am experiencing problems of living, then through various psychological methods or techniques, I should be able to tap into, utilize, or realize that goodness and thus remedy the adversities I experience. All the psychotherapeutic selfisms, from self-love to self-esteem to self-image to self-actualization to self-realization—and ultimately to self-deification—are predicated upon the innate goodness of one’s nature.]