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Although mindfulness has been generally linked to superior emotional functioning, several areas remain unclear. In extending prior work, the current report evaluated the link between trait mindfulness and physiological patterns of recovery from negative emotion and investigated possible associations between trait mindfulness and emotion differentiation. After completing a trait mindfulness measure, 80 healthy volunteers were block-randomized (matched on gender and relatively high versus relatively low trait mindfulness) to complete either emotional (EN) or neutral (NE) writing tasks first. In the EN order, participants wrote about an upsetting experience and, in the NE order, about the events of an average day. In partial support of expectation, relatively more mindful men showed greater physiological reactivity to an emotional task followed by superior recovery, but only in the EN order; supplementary analyses suggest that greater non-reactivity scores among males may be involved in the physiological regulation of emotional stress. As expected, relatively more versus relatively less mindful participants also differentiated more among discrete negative emotions but, again, only in the EN order. Taken together, findings offer preliminary evidence that the more differentiated emotional responding associated with aspects of trait mindfulness may facilitate more adaptive responding under stress and contribute to superior mental and physical health.
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- Why It Pays to be Mindful: Trait Mindfulness Predicts Physiological Recovery from Emotional Stress and Greater Differentiation among Negative Emotions
Francesca A. Fogarty
Lucy M. Lu
John J. Sollers III
Sergey G. Krivoschekov
Roger J. Booth
Nathan S. Consedine
- Springer US