Participants were randomly assigned to receive either an eight-week “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” program or no treatment. The MBSR program consisted of weekly two-hour meetings in which participants learned body awareness techniques. They worked on breathing and understanding how to mindfully attend to their emotions and everyday practices, as well as practicing mindfulness meditation exercises for 30 minutes a day at home.
After the mindfulness meditation training, participants reported being less lonely. Researchers also found their blood had elevated levels of pro-inflammatory gene expression in their immune cells. In short, there was less inflammation, which is good because inflammation in the body can cause cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.