The branding for mindfulness or meditation tactics which help us focus on the now is getting better and better. Employees at Facebook and Google are practicing it, reports WIRED. Here is that article. And someone in some social circle will blurt out how much mindfulness practices have been helping everything from anxiety to hostility. That's the branding.
The reality, at least according to recent research, is not so over-the-top. In a report published in JAMA Internal Medicine regarding 47 studies, it was found that mindfulness can deliver moderate benefits. For example, As Lindsay Gellman tells us in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, for the mildly depressed mindfulness can do what an antidepressant might. Here is that article (sub. req.)
However, researchers haven't positioned mindfulness as a panacea. There's more.
The same studies found that, unlike mindfulness' focus on the present, mere meditation isn't all that helpful in accomplishing things such as reducing anxiety, managing an eating disorder and so on. Meditation, as we understand it, involves reciting a mantra over and over again. That mantra, usually associated with concentrating on breathing in and breathing out might be "Clear Thinking - Don't Know" or "Happiness - Yes."
This kind of information from science might be deflating to those who have run off and embraced eastern philosophies which promote mindfulness, meditation or both. For 18 months I was among them. Then I looked around at the "trusted teachers," connected the dots, and decided their behavior didn't seem any all that enlightened.
The takeaway from that experimentation (tried three schools of Buddhism) has been a regular practice in mindfulness. As the research indicates, I can manage my clinical depression without medication. And, as WIRED had noted, I can get in the zone more easily when working.