Mindfulness and human occupation: A scoping review

Scand J Occup Ther. 2019 Apr;26(3):157-170. doi: 10.1080/11038128.2018.1483422. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


Background: Mindfulness is an emergent construct with implications for our understanding of approaches to engagement in human occupation. Little is known about how mindfulness is being applied and what its possibilities are in the occupation-based disciplines.

Objective: The purpose of this scoping review was to summarize, describe, and identify gaps in the existing literature on mindfulness in relation to human occupation.

Material and method: A scoping review, guided by Arksey and O'Malley's methodological framework was undertaken. The initial search yielded 929 articles; 20 articles met the criteria for inclusion. Articles included peer review and gray literature published in English between 2006-2016. Articles addressed mindfulness in OT or OS and included the terms 'human occupation', 'occupational therapy' and/or 'occupational therapist', and 'mindfulness' and/or 'meditation' or 'yoga'.

Findings: The qualitative thematic analysis identified an overarching theme of mindful occupation, with 5 sub-themes including occupational presence; occupational awareness; occupational engagement; occupational well-being; and occupational fulfillment.

Conclusions and significance: The findings have important implications for practice, education, theory and research. Future directions should focus on more depth and breadth of empirical research about mindful engagement in human occupation that can be used to implement and evaluate mindfulness in occupation-based theory and practice.

Keywords: Human occupation; meditation; mindfulness; occupational therapy; yoga.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Occupations
  • Workplace / psychology*