Working collaboratively with colleagues in the field to establish a growing international network for mindfulness training centres, programmes, teachers and researchers to promote the relational and prosocial context of mindfulness

Prosociality refers to behaviours that are intended to benefit others [1]

Prosocial behaviour refers to voluntary behaviour that is beneficial to others or society, including cooperation, help, comfort, and donation. It can improve individuals’ happiness and perceptions of meaning in life [2] Research has found a positive effect between mindfulness and prosocial behaviour [3].

Coordinated by Sharon Hadley (Oxford Mindfulness) and Rick Hanson (Global Compassion Coalition), a Network for Prosocial Mindfulness is forming. This network is designed to bring together those in the field who actively teach, train and/or research mindfulness.

An initial meeting to explore this proposal has been held with early supporters of the vision coming together to communicate and deepen the prosocial elements of mindfulness.  Following this meeting, four distinct aspects have been proposed for the enhancement of relational and prosocial mindfulness, we are inviting feedback on these recommendations, if you would like to provide feedback please use the below link to access the survey

There is no deadline / closing date for feedback but it would be really helpful to gather as much as possible before 22nd July 2024.


1. In teaching and marketing, we propose an increase in language that includes the benefits of mindfulness for others and for communities, in addition to the benefits for oneself.

2. In teaching and marketing, we propose increased highlighting of prosocial intentions in the development of mindfulness.

3. In teaching, we propose increased highlighting “social” experiences (e.g., compassion, kindness, feeling cared about, love) as factors or resources in the development and sustained experiencing of mindfulness.

4. As organisations and teachers, we ask that all demonstrate and communicate their strong ethics. 

Next Steps

1. Invite a diverse and wide range of teachers and organisations to join an interest group to further consider this network. Both secular and spiritual/religious approaches to mindfulness are welcome.

2. Send out a survey to mindfulness teachers and organisations (including to those not yet involved) to find out: what they might be already doing to place mindfulness in a relational and prosocial context; what opportunities they see to do this even more; and what suggestions they have for this initiative; any other suggestions how we can achieve / develop the vision.


Through formal training – and more broadly through magazines, podcasts, YouTube videos, and other aspects of popular culture, and in various settings such as healthcare, business, and education – mindfulness reaches many millions of people every year. As we increasingly appreciate, teach, and encourage the compassionate aspects of mindfulness, we will be helping to develop a more heart-centered world.

Members of the Network for Prosocial Mindfulness would agree to endorse a general statement of intention to describe and teach mindfulness in a relational and prosocial context.

Example texts to support the four distinct aspects:

1. Benefits for others and for communities:

Research has shown that some forms of Mindfulness…

  • Support individuals to reduce their stress and increase their empathy and concern for others and their wider environment. [4,5].
  • Increases general wellbeing and the ability to care for and support others [6].
  • Cultivates improvements in mental health and individuals ability to positively contribute to their communities [7].

2. Prosocial intentions:

  • Research has shown that some forms of Mindfulness increase our ability to be mindful, as a result, we care about others as well as ourselves [4,5,6].

3. Factors or resources:

  • Research has shown that some forms of Mindfulness increase our feelings of connectedness to others – perhaps with a sense of caring for them and feeling cared about yourself – can support you in sustaining mindfulness of painful, difficult material inside yourself. [4,5,6].

4. Strong ethics:

  • As an organisation / teacher / researcher, we are clear on what mindfulness approach we are offering.
  • As an organisation / teacher / researcher, we do not misrepresent our credentialing, or the published research that supports our programmes.


  1. Jensen K. (2016). Prosociality. Curr Biol. 
  2. Wang et al., (2021). Socioeconomic Status and Prosocial Behavior: The Mediating Roles of Community Identity and Perceived Control. Int J Environ Res Public Health
  3. Donald et al., (2019). Does your mindfulness benefit others? A systematic review and meta‐analysis of the link between mindfulness and prosocial behaviour. British Journal of Psychology, 110(1), 101-125.
  4. Speca et al., (2010). Exploring self‐compassion and empathy in the context of mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR). Stress and Health, 26(5)
  5. Ericson et al., (2014). Mindfulness and sustainability. Ecological Economics, 104, 73-79
  6. DeMauro et al., (2019). Mindfulness and caring in professional practice: an interdisciplinary review of qualitative research. Mindfulness, 10, 1969-1984
  7. Wamsler, C. (2017). How mindfulness can help the shift towards a more sustainable society.