De wetenschap achter mindfulness

Welkom bij de database voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek. Hier laten we overzichtelijk de wetenschap achter mindfulness zien. Deze database verzamelt slechts een deel van de schat aan onderzoek, gegevens en ervaring rond de implementatie en effectiviteit van mindfulness.



Klik door naar de onderstaande collecties om individuele bewijsstukken en onderzoek te bekijken.


Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-Based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice, 10, 144-56.


Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S.,… Devins, G. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 230-41.


Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18, 211-237.


Lutz, A., Slagter, H. A., Dunne, J. D., Davidson, R. J. (2008). Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 163-69.


Rapgay, L., Bystrisky, A. (2009). Classical mindfulness: An introduction to its theory and practice for clinical application. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1172, 148-62.


Cullen, M. (2011). Mindfulness-Based interventions: An emerging phenomenon. Mindfulness, 2(3), 186-93.


Williams, J. M. G., Kabat-Zinn, J. (2011). Mindfulness: Diverse perspectives on its meaning, origins, and multiple applications at the intersection of science and dharma. Contemporary Buddhism, 12, 1-18.


Chiesa, A. (2013). The difficulty of defining mindfulness: Current thought and critical issues. Mindfulness, 4, 255-68.


Vago, D. R. (2014). Mapping modalities of self-awareness in mindfulness practice: A potential mechanism for clarifying habits of mind. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1307, 28-42.


Dahl, C. J., Lutz, A., Davidson, R. J. (2015). Reconstructing and deconstructing the self: Cognitive mechanisms in meditation practice. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19:515-23.


Crane, R. S., Brewer, J., Feldman, C.,…Kuyken, W. (2017). What defines mindfulness-based programs? The warp and the weft. Psychological Medicine, 47:990-99.

Manikonda, J., Störk, S., Tögel, S. et al. (2008) Contemplative meditation reduces ambulatory blood pressure and stress-induced hypertension: a randomized pilot trial. J Hum Hypertens 22138–140.

. (2021) Meditation interventions efficiently reduce cortisol levels of at-risk samples: a meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review 15:1, pages 56-84.

Kenneth G. Walton PhD, Robert H. Schneider MD, Sanford I. Nidich EdD, John W. Salemo PhD, Cheryl K. Nordstrom PhD, MPH & C. Noel Bairey Merz MD (2002) Psychosocial Stress and Cardiovascular Disease Part 2: Effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation Program in Treatment and Prevention, Behavioral Medicine, 28:3, 106-123.

Levine GN, Lange RA, Bairey-Merz CN, Davidson RJ, Jamerson K, Mehta PK, Michos ED, Norris K, Ray IB, Saban KL, Shah T, Stein R, Smith SC Jr (2017) American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and Council on Hypertension. Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. J Am Heart Assoc. Sep 28;6(10):e002218.

Koike MK, Cardoso R. (2014) Meditation can produce beneficial effects to prevent cardiovascular disease. Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. Jun;18(3):137-43. 

Olex S, Newberg A, Figueredo VM. (2013) Meditation: should a cardiologist care? Int J Cardiol. Oct 3;168(3):1805-10.

Segal, Z. V., Teasdale, J. D., Williams, J. M., Gemar, M. C. (2002). The mindfulness-based cognitive therapy adherence scale: Inter-rater reliability, adherence to protocol and treatment distinctiveness. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 9, 131-38.


Carmody, J., Baer, R. A. (2009). How long does a mindfulness-based stress reduction program need to be? A review of class contact hours and effect sizes for psychological distress. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65, 627-38.


Chawla, N., Collins, S., Bowen, S.,… Marlatt, G. A. (2010). The mindfulness-based relapse prevention adherence and competence scale: Development, interrater reliability, and validity. Psychotherapy Research, 20, 388-97.


Crane, R. S., Eames, C., Kuyken, W.,… Surawy, C. (2013). Development and validation of the mindfulness-based interventions–teaching assessment criteria (MBI: TAC). Assessment, 20, 681-88.


Dobkin, P. L., Hickman, S., Monshat, K. (2014). Holding the heart of mindfulness-based stress reduction: Balancing fidelity and imagination when adapting MBSR. Mindfulness, 5(6), 710-18.


Evans, A., Crane, R., Cooper, L.,… Kuyken, W. (2015). A framework for supervision for mindfulness-based teachers: A space for embodied mutual inquiry. Mindfulness, 6, 572-581.


Gould, L. F., Dariotis, J. K., Greenberg, M. T., Mendelson, T. (2016). Assessing fidelity of implementation (FOI) for school-based mindfulness and yoga interventions: A systematic review. Mindfulness, 7, 5-33.


Parsons, C. E., Crane, C., Parsons, L. J.,… Kuyken, W. (2017). Home practice in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction: A systematic review and meta-analysis of participants’ mindfulness practice and its association with outcomes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 95, 29-41.


Kechter, A., Amaro, H., Black, D. S. (2018). Reporting of treatment fidelity in mindfulness-based intervention trials: A review and new tool using NIH behavior change consortium guidelines. Mindfulness.

Lauche, R., Cramer, H., Dobos, G.,… Schmidt, S. (2013). A systematic review and meta-analysis of mindfulness-based stress reduction for the fibromyalgia syndrome. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 75, 500-10.


Lawrence, M., Booth, J., Mercer, S., Crawford, E. (2013). A systematic review of the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions following transient ischemic attack and stroke. International Journal of Stroke, 8, 465-74.


Abbott, R. A., Whear, R., Rodgers, L. R.,… Dickens, C. (2014). Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness based cognitive therapy in vascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 76(5), 341-51.


Aucoin, M., Lalonde-Parsi, M. J., Cooley, K. (2014). Mindfulness-Based therapies in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders: A meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 140724.


Simpson, R., Booth, J., Lawrence, M.,… Mercer, S. (2014). Mindfulness based interventions in multiple sclerosis-a systematic review. BMC Neurology, 14, 15.


Riley, K. E., Kalichman, S. (2015). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for people living with HIV/AIDS: Preliminary review of intervention trial methodologies and findings. Health Psychology Review, 9, 224-43


Ulrichsen, K. M., Kaufmann, T., Dørum, E. S.,… Nordvik, J. E. (2017). Clinical utility of mindfulness training in the treatment of fatigue after stroke, traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 912.

Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 169-83.


Piet, J., Hougaard, E. (2011). The effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for prevention of relapse in recurrent major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1032-40.


Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G.,… Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-Based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 763-71.


Kuyken, W., Warren, F. C., Taylor, R. S.,… Dalgleish, T. (2016). Efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in prevention of depressive relapse: An individual patient data meta-analysis from randomized trials. JAMA Psychiatry, 73, 565-74. 


Spijkerman, M. P., Pots, W. T., Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2016). Effectiveness of online mindfulness-based interventions in improving mental health: A review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Clinical Psychology Review


Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for improving health, quality of life and social functioning in adults. Campbell Systematic Review 2017, 13.


Blanck, P., Perleth, S., Heidenreich, T.,… Mander, J. (2018). Effects of mindfulness exercises as stand-alone intervention on symptoms of anxiety and depression: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 102, 25-35.


Chu, C. S., Stubbs, B., Chen, T. Y.,… Lin, P. Y. (2017). The effectiveness of adjunct mindfulness-based intervention in treatment of bipolar disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 225, 234-245.


Wang, Y. Y., Li, X. H.,… Xiang, Y. T. (2018). Mindfulness-based interventions for major depressive disorder: A comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Affective Disorders, 229, 429-36.


Hoge, E. A., Bui, E., Marques, L., Metcalf, C. A., Morris, L. K., Robinaugh, D. J., Worthington, J. J., Pollack, M. H., & Simon, N. M. (2013). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for generalized anxiety disorder: effects on anxiety and stress reactivity. The Journal of clinical psychiatry74(8), 786–792.


Goldin PR, Gross JJ. (2010) Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion. Feb;10(1):83-91.


Lindsay, E. K., Young, S., Brown, K. W., Smyth, J. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2019). Mindfulness training reduces loneliness and increases social contact in a randomized controlled trial. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America116(9), 3488–3493.

Hölzel, B. K., Lazar, S. W., Gard, T.,… Ott, U. (2011). How does mindfulness meditation work? Proposing mechanisms of action from a conceptual and neural perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 537-559.


Britta K. Hölzel, James Carmody, Mark Vangel, Christina Congleton, Sita M. Yerramsetti, Tim Gard, Sara W. Lazar, (2011)
Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.


Vago, D. R., Silbersweig, S. A. (2012). Self-Awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): A framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6, 296.


Zeidan, F., Grant, J. A., Brown, C. A.,… Coghill, R. C. (2012). Mindfulness meditation-related pain relief: Evidence for unique brain mechanisms in the regulation of pain. Neuroscience Letters, 520, 165-73.


Malinowski, P. (2013). Neural mechanisms of attentional control in mindfulness meditation. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7, 8.


Fox, K. C., Nijeboer, S., Dixon, M. L.,… Christoff, K. (2014). Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 43, 48-73.


Tang, Y. Y., Hölzel, B. K., Posner, M. I. (2015). The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16, 213-225.


Falcone, G., Jerram, M. (2018). Brain activity in mindfulness depends on experience: A meta-analysis of fmri studies. Mindfulness.


Luders, E., Toga, A. W., Lepore, N., & Gaser, C. (2009). The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter. 


Lazar, S. W., Kerr, C. E., Wasserman, R. H., Gray, J. R., Greve, D. N., Treadway, M. T., McGarvey, M., Quinn, B. T., Dusek, J. A., Benson, H., Rauch, S. L., Moore, C. I., & Fischl, B. (2005). Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Neuroreport16(17), 1893–1897. 


Zeidan F, Johnson SK, Diamond BJ, David Z, Goolkasian P. (2010) Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: evidence of brief mental training. Conscious Cogn. 2010 Jun;19(2):597-605. 

Gard, T., Hölzel, B. K., Lazar, S. W. (2014). The potential effects of meditation on age-related cognitive decline: A systematic review. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1307, 89-103.


Marciniak, R., Sheardova, K., Cermáková, P., Hudeček, D., Sumec, R., & Hort, J. (2014). Effect of meditation on cognitive functions in context of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience8, 17.


Gard, T., Taquet, M., Dixit, R., Hölzel, B. K., de Montjoye, Y. A., Brach, N., Salat, D. H., Dickerson, B. C., Gray, J. R., & Lazar, S. W. (2014). Fluid intelligence and brain functional organization in aging yoga and meditation practitioners. Frontiers in aging neuroscience6, 76.


Larouche, E., Hudon, C., Goulet, S. (2015). Potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions in mild cognitive impairment and alzheimer’s disease: An interdisciplinary perspective. Behavioural Brain Research, 276, 199-212.


Alexander CN, Langer EJ, Newman RI, Chandler HM, Davies JL. (1989) Transcendental meditation, mindfulness, and longevity: an experimental study with the elderly. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1989 Dec;57(6):950-64.


Epel E, Daubenmier J, Moskowitz JT, Folkman S, Blackburn E. (2009) Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug;1172:34-53.


Laneri, D., Schuster, V., Dietsche, B., Jansen, A., Ott, U., & Sommer, J. (2016). Effects of Long-Term Mindfulness Meditation on Brain’s White Matter Microstructure and its Aging. Frontiers in aging neuroscience7, 254. 

De wetenschap achter mindfulness

Mensen die mindfulness beoefenen, zeggen dat het de manier waarop ze het leven ervaren fundamenteel verandert. De afgelopen 40 jaar hebben onderzoekers geprobeerd dit in biologische termen te verklaren. Studies tonen aan dat mindfulness angst en depressie kan verminderen, je immuunsysteem kan stimuleren, je kan helpen pijn te beheersen, je kan losmaken van ongezonde gewoonten en verslavingen, slapeloosheid kan verzachten, hoge bloeddruk kan verlagen en zelfs de structuur en functie van je hersenen in positieve zin kan veranderen- zelfs in slechts 8 weken van beoefenen.


Volgens neurowetenschappelijk onderzoek dempen mindfulness-oefeningen de activiteit in onze amygdala en vergroten ze de verbindingen tussen de amygdala en de prefrontale cortex. Beide delen van de hersenen helpen ons om minder reactief te zijn op stressoren en om beter te herstellen van stress wanneer we die ervaren.


De meest gerespecteerde wetenschappers die de effecten van mindfulness-praktijken bestuderen, benadrukken dat het onderzoek in vergelijking met veel andere gebieden nog in de kinderschoenen staat. Het zal jaren en decennia duren voordat er voldoende peer-reviewed onderzoek is met actieve controles en lange tijdsbestekken om harde bewijzen van voordelen vast te stellen. Dat gezegd hebbende, het veld is in opkomst en het onderzoek ziet er veelbelovend uit.

Mindfulness based interventies

Mindfulness-meditatiestudies kwamen al in 1982 uit de Stress Reduction Clinic van Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in het UMass Medical Center. Sinds die tijd hebben meer dan 25.000 mensen zijn baanbrekende meerweekse programma voltooid, dat bekend kwam te staan als Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), waarin ze leren hun vermogen op te bouwen om te reageren op stress, pijn en zelfs chronische ziekten.


Kabat-Zinn paste de basisprincipes van mindfulness-meditatie toe op patiënten in een medische setting en zijn werk bij het ontwikkelen van het MBSR-programma bleek effectief in het helpen verlichten van het lijden van chronische en voorheen slopende medische aandoeningen zoals chronische pijn. Het diende ook als een vruchtbare voedingsbodem voor een systematische reeks onderzoeksonderzoeken in samenwerking met een van de grondleggers van het veld van affectieve neurowetenschappen, Richard Davidson van de Universiteit van Wisconsin in Madison. MBSR is de gouden standaard geworden voor onderzoek naar op mindfulness gebaseerde interventies.


In 1992 werkten Zindel Segal, John Teasdale en Mark Williams samen om een programma van acht weken te maken, gebaseerd op MBSR. In 2002 publiceerden de drie Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse, nu een mijlpaalboek.


De geloofwaardigheid van MBCT rust stevig op lopend onderzoek. De belangrijkste daarvan zijn twee gerandomiseerde klinische onderzoeken (gepubliceerd in 2000 en 2008 in The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology) waaruit blijkt dat MBCT het percentage terugval met 50% vermindert bij patiënten die lijden aan terugkerende depressie. Recente bevindingen, gepubliceerd in The Lancet, tonen aan dat het combineren van een afbouw van medicatie met MBCT even effectief is als een doorlopende onderhoudsdosering van medicatie.