COPSYC, Accepted manuscript. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.12.011

“The too-much-of-a-good-thing effect occurs when normally “positive phenomena reach inflection points at which their effects turn negative” [1]. Recognized more than a century ago as the Yerkes–Dodson law of optimal arousal [2], accumulating evidence across multiple disciplines suggests that the inverted U-shaped curve or non-monotonic relationship between psychological or physiological processes and wellbeing or performance may be so “fundamental and ubiquitous” [1] as to represent a “meta-theoretical principle” [3].”

Today, we accept that even mindfulness may be subject to the too-much-of-a-good-thing effect. Take time to reflect on how much practice you need to stay in the green optimal part of the curve; always wishing we could meditate more or do more yoga or find more stillness in our day may be simply counterproductive. If this idea interests you and you are willing to invest time on reading an academic paper then: “Can Mindfulness Be Too Much of a Good Thing? The Value of a Middle Way’ by W. Britton may be worth your time. It includes a great table of “Indications, contraindications, and potential adverse effects for different mindfulness-related processes” And we have found an open access copy of the full article here. Britton is one of the few researches who, in spite of criticism and controversy, has stood firm in her belief that mindfulness can have a dark side and that we owe it to the public to study it rather than deny it.

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