Despite mindfulness being defined as a present-focused awareness of one’s moment-to-moment experiences, there has been little research investigating its relation to temporal perspective in terms of individual’s thoughts and feelings concerning their past, present, and future lives.
The current study employed an online sample of 305 American adults (M age = 30.61, SD = 3.42; 55% female) to examine a five-factor model of mindfulness in relation to multiple components of temporal perspective: evaluation, focus, distance, overlap, and value of one’s recollected past, present, and anticipated future lives.
Mindfulness factors were associated with aspects of temporal perspective encompassing all three temporal periods—including greater focus on the present, more positive evaluations of the present and future, and greater valuing of the present. Furthermore, a canonical correlation analysis (Wilk’s λ = 0.39, p < 0.001) identified two unique combinations of mindfulness, each linked with different aspects of temporal perspective (rs = 0.63 and 0.43; ps < 0.05). First, a mixture of greater awareness, nonjudgment, and describing was linked with greater focus on one’s present life and more positive evaluations of one’s past, present, and future lives. Second, a combination of greater nonreacting, observing, and describing was linked with greater focus on one’s past, present, and future lives.
Findings suggest that there is much to be gained by investigating mindfulness using a temporally expanded approach. Mindfulness is more than just a present-oriented construct but rather is linked in various ways with how individuals view their past, present, and future lives.