chapter  6
28 Pages

Mental health and mindfulness

Does mindfulness inexorably support healthy development? This might be answered by a consideration of the markers of health, such as psychological status, adjustment, satisfaction and productivity, of people exhibiting different degrees of attainment. I am unaware of any study having such breadth, but counter-examples go a long way to nullify a hypothesis of this kind. While there is signi®cant scienti®c and anecdotal evidence of the frequently positive impact of mindfulness on negative moods, tension and intrusive mental events, there is relatively little concerning what many would feel is a cardinal indicator of health: interpersonal relationships. We shall look ®rst at how mental health can be thought about as something other than absence of mental illness, giving priority to models that refer to awareness and attention in developing their alternative concepts of health. These will provide a useful context in further consideration of where mindfulness stands in relation to mental health.