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Mindfulness matters but leaves some red faced

  • New research launched by Vitality today has revealed more than 80 per cent (86%) believe mindfulness apps have been effective in improving their overall mental wellbeing
  • Despite the benefits, almost a fifth (19%) keep their use of the apps secret for fear of being judged by friends or family
  • 18% also said they would feel embarrassed about using a mindfulness app around other people, while 15% admit that their partner does not know they use a mindfulness app
  • The survey also found that parents are realising the benefits of mindfulness by practising it with their children to help them feel calm (43%), improve their mental health (35%) and reduce anxiety (31%)

New research by Vitality, the innovative Health and Life Insurance Company, has found more than 80 per cent (86%) of people believe mindfulness apps have been effective in improving their overall mental wellbeing.

More than half (54%) of respondents admitted they use mindfulness apps to help relieve the symptoms of stress, while just under half (49%) practice the activity to improve their mental health.  Just over a third (34%) of respondents use mindfulness apps to boost their mood and just over one in 10 (11%) use them to improve productivity at work.

However despite such high usage of the apps and the positive benefits of doing so on mental health and wellbeing, almost a fifth of respondents (19%) reported that they worry about being judged by friends and family if they were to find out they use them.

18% also said they feel embarrassed about using a mindfulness app around other people, and 15% admitted that their partner does not know they currently use an app.

Melissa Britton, a Positive Psychology Practitioner and Vitality Coach, said: “It is really concerning to see how many people are embarrassed to admit they use mindfulness apps. As this research shows, the popularity of these apps is actually growing rapidly and people who use them say they are experiencing improved mental health. There really is nothing to feel ashamed by.

“Mindfulness apps can play an important role in providing an opportunity for people to connect with their thoughts and emotions on their own terms. Whilst it is positive that across society people are being more open about mental health generally, we must all push to make sure that these apps and anything that supports better mental health, becomes a normal and accepted part of everyday life.”

The research, which surveyed 1,006 people who use mindfulness apps in the UK, explored the key reasons why people use the apps and how they are incorporating them into their everyday routines.

The most popular time to use a mindfulness app is just before bed (32%) with women more likely than men to use it to help improve their sleep (41% vs 30% respectively).

On average, respondents spend 13 minutes on a mindfulness app per session, with most respondents (33%) spending between six to 10 minutes practicing mindfulness during the session. Perhaps surprisingly, men are more likely than women to spend between 26 and 30 minutes practising mindfulness during a session (10% vs 9% respectively).

Mindfulness matters for the whole family 

Interestingly, the survey also found that people are introducing the benefits of mindfulness to their children. Over half (52%) of those surveyed stated that they regularly practice it with their children, with just over one in 10 (11%) dedicating time to the activity as often as four to six days a week.

The key reasons parents are practicing mindfulness with their children are to help them feel calm (43%); help them with their mental health and wellbeing (35%); and to help them with anxiety (31%). In addition, 30 per cent of those surveyed who practice mindfulness with their children, practice mindfulness to help improve their child’s behaviour.

Melissa Britton continues: “It’s fantastic so many people are using mindfulness apps with their children, as this will help children understand the importance and normality of taking the time to look after your mental health.

“At Vitality, we encourage all families to take stock of their mental wellbeing and incorporate mindfulness into their daily routine. Just 10 minutes a day can help you feel calm and positively impact your mood.”