Researchers from King's College and the Institute of Psychiatry performed a qualitative study to explore how practicing mindfulness related to living with and managing bipolar illness.
Qualitative methodology was used to explore the experiences of 12 people with bipolar illness who had been practicing mindfulness for at least 18 weeks. Semi-structured interviews exploring how the practice of mindfulness meditation affected their living with their condition were recorded verbatim, transcribed, and then analyzed using thematic analysis.
Seven themes emerged: (1) Focusing on what is present; (2) clearer awareness of mood state and changes therein; (3) acceptance; (4) mindfulness practice in different mood states; (5) reducing/stabilizing negative affect; (6) relating differently to negative thoughts; and (7) reducing the impact of the mood state.
All participants reported receiving subjective benefits from practicing mindfulness, as well as challenges in doing this practice, and gave insights into their processes of change.