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The Science Behind Healthy Minds Innovations

Train Your Mind. Change Your Brain.

Healthy Minds Innovations was launched in 2014 to create scientific tools to measure and cultivate well-being. Our work translates decades of influential neuroscientific research from our affiliated research center, the Center for Healthy Minds. All of our products, programs and tools are tied back to this science, including the Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being, and are actively used in a variety of scientific studies by researchers around the world to promote further scientific understanding. 

Well-Being is a Skill

Did you know well-being can be learned and strengthened? Scientific research is increasingly focused on practical methods to cultivate well-being. The data suggest that caring relationships, attention and self-regulation, and even meaning and purpose in life can all be strengthened through training. 

The Four Pillars of a Healthy Mind

The Center for Healthy Minds has created a new scientific framework for understanding how human flourishing can be nurtured consisting of four pillars of well-being: awareness, connection, insight, and purpose. Research shows that each of these four pillars are related to specific networks in the brain and can be strengthened through meditation and other forms of mental training. 

Center for Healthy Minds researchers explored the “how” of emotional well-being in a new paper in the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Citation: Dahl, C. J., Wilson-Mendenhall, C. H., & Davidson, R. J. (2020). The plasticity of well-being: A training-based framework for the cultivation of human flourishing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.2014859117

The Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being

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Be present. Train your mind to be more calm and focused. Meditation training to strengthen mindfulness, attention, and self-awareness.

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Feel connected. Develop skills to strengthen appreciation, kindness, and compassion through building connection skills.

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Get curious. Learn how your sense of self shapes your emotions and reactions, and practice self-inquiry to decrease stress and emotional reactivity.

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Stay motivated. Strengthen your values and principles and learn simple skills to apply them in everyday life.

Cultivating Well-Being

Training your mind to be more resilient in the face of challenges and to truly thrive when things are going well is easier than it sounds. New research from the Center for Healthy Minds shows that even short periods of meditation make measurable differences in everything from our level of stress, to feelings of depression and anxiety, and even to how connected we feel to the people in our lives. 

Published Healthy Minds Program App Study

new study from researchers at the Center for Healthy Minds and the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison featured in the journal JMIR Mental Health, a publication focused on digital innovations for mental health and behavior, suggests that a fully remote program administered on smartphones can also produce some of the benefits of in-person mindfulness interventions, including a reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress and an increase in feelings of social connection.

Citation: Goldberg, S. B., Imhoff-Smith, T., Bolt, D. M., Wilson-Mendenhall, C. D., Dahl, C. J., Davidson, R. J., & Rosenkranz, M. A. (2020). Testing the Efficacy of a Multicomponent, Self-Guided, Smartphone-Based Meditation App: Three-Armed Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Mental Health, 7(11), 23825. doi:10.2196/23825

Healthy Minds Program App Research

Educator Well-Being During the Covid-19 Pandemic:

In this randomized controlled trial, Wisconsin educators will either receive four weeks of the Healthy Minds Program app or be assigned to a control condition where access to the program will be provided after data collection. Read more here.

Healthy Minds Program Promoting Resilience During the Covid-19 Pandemic:

This study expands on a previous randomized controlled trial using the Healthy Minds Program as an intervention to improve well-being. Read more here.

The Student Flourishing Initiative:

Working in partnership with other academic institutions, the Center for Healthy Minds is creating and studying the impact of a well-being curriculum for college freshman, which includes use of the Healthy Minds Program app. Read more here.

App-Based Intervention to Decrease Firefighter Psychological Distress and Burnout:

This is a pilot study with a sample of firefighters using the Healthy Minds Program app as the intervention. Read more here.

Healthy Minds Program Research Guidebook

If you are interested in using the Healthy Minds Program app for your research study please read the Healthy Minds Program Research Guidebook first to learn more about the app and how HMI can support research partners.

If you are interested in using the HMP app for your study, please complete this form.

Fielded Surveys

Healthy Minds Innovations is also interested in the current state of well-being for various populations through the use of fielded surveys to inform our workplace and individual well-being tools.

2021 State of Workplace Mindfulness Survey Report

Completed by over 1,700 people, the 2021 Mindfulness in the Workplace Survey Report provides the most expansive and detailed examination of the state of mindfulness in the workplace ever conducted. The survey was conducted by Mindful Leader, which provides workplace mindfulness training, certification and events; Healthy Minds Innovations affiliated with the neuroscientific research institution the Center for Healthy Minds; and Mindful Communications, publishers of and Mindful Magazine.