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Watching David Attenborough documentaries just as good for you as mindfulness, study finds

Why not watch Blue Planet II instead?

Jack Shepherd
Tuesday 06 February 2018 11:54 GMT
Blue Planet 2- trailer

While mindfulness and meditation may have swept the nation, both practices actually have few benefits over watching a David Attenborough documentary, a new study claims.

Miguel Farias, a psychologist at Coventry University, along with scientists from New Zealand and the Netherlands, wanted to test whether the methods actually led to self-improvement.

Following 22 trials, they found no convincing evidence that either mindfulness and meditation promoted open-mindedness or empathy more than jogging and watching TV, reported The Times.

The researchers looked at previous studies that compared both techniques — famed for helping people concentrate — to other activities.

Writing for Scientific Reports, they found those studies were often written by people who hosted classes on the practices, resulting in possibly biased outcomes.

Those results also appeared to show an increase in compassion, but no particular advantage over watching documentaries — such as those narrated by Attenborough — was found.

​Farias concluded that methods such as mindfulness show no measurable effect beyond what their teacher tells someone to expect, comparing the technique to religion and warning against “implicit magical beliefs” in meditation.

Due to the increasing popularity of mindfulness, there have been various studies on the practice in recent months, some finding it may make people 'selfish' while other conversely claim it can improve your sex life.

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