Improving Mental Health and Well-Being through Informal Mindfulness Practices: An Intervention Study

Background: Mindfulness-based programs have been shown to be effective in

reducing stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms, and enhancing well-being.

However, it remains unclear whether longer formal mindfulness practices are necessary to obtain such results. We therefore aimed to assess the effectiveness of a program (FOVEA, 8 weeks, 2h/week) which was only based on brief and informal practices.

Methods: Using a switching replication design, participants (N = 139) were assigned to a FOVEA or a wait-list group, and completed the following self-report questionnaires online at three time points: perceived stress, anxiety, depression, satisfaction with life (dependent variables), and mindfulness (mediating variable). They also completed a daily practice diary.

Results: Relative to the wait-list group, FOVEA participants showed significantly reduced perceived stress, anxiety, and depression, and increased satisfaction with life. These changes were completely mediated by increased mindfulness, and were maintained 2.5 months after

the end of the program. The effect sizes were moderate to large.

Conclusions: These results underline the potential benefits of a mindfulness informal practices

program for the general population. This type of program could constitute a first step towards more formal practices once the motivation to practice has been enhanced by the perceived benefits of brief practices.

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