Best Practice

Sports and metal health: Is exercise better than mindfulness?

Schools are on the front-line of the mental health crisis facing our young people. Across three articles, Dr Stephanie Thornton looks at what the research evidence says about the power of music, art and sport to support teenagers...


Recent years have seen great excitement over the practice of mindfulness, which has been portrayed by celebrities, in the media – and in some research – as a panacea for mental health.

Many schools have invested in mindfulness-based interventions to support student welfare and emotional wellbeing (Felver et al, 2016). However, the effectiveness of such interventions has come under question.

Research in the area has been poor and the evidence is equivocal (Felver et al, 2016; Kallapiran et al, 2015). Often, the reported benefit is small, and since there is generally no control group for comparison, it is unclear whether these benefits actually reflect the practice of mindfulness or would have occurred without it.

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