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The Mediating Role of Shared Flow and Perceived Emotional Synchrony on Compassion for Others in a Mindful-Dancing Program

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Abstract

Objectives

While there is a growing understanding of the relationship between mindfulness and compassion, this largely relates to the form of mindfulness employed in first-generation mindfulness-based interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Consequently, there is limited knowledge of the relationship between mindfulness and compassion in respect of the type of mindfulness employed in second-generation mindfulness-based interventions (SG-MBIs), including those that employ the principle of working harmoniously as a “secular sangha.” Understanding this relationship is important because research indicates that perceived emotional synchrony (PES) and shared flow—that often arise during participation in harmonized group contemplative activities—can enhance outcomes relating to compassion, subjective well-being, and group identity fusion. This pilot study analyzed the effects of participation in a mindful-dancing SG-MBI on compassion and investigated the mediating role of shared flow and PES.

Methods

A total of 130 participants were enrolled into the study that followed a quasi-experimental design with an intervention and control group.

Results

Results confirmed the salutary effect of participating in a collective mindful-dancing program, and demonstrated that shared flow and PES fully meditated the effects of collective mindfulness on the kindness and common humanity dimensions of compassion.

Conclusions

Further research is warranted to explore whether collective mindfulness approaches, such as mindful dancing, may be a means of enhancing compassion and subjective well-being outcomes due to the mediating role of PES and shared flow.

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Acknowledgments

We wish to express our deepest appreciation to the individuals who voluntarily participated in the project as well as the university employees for their support with the study.

Funding

This research was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (under grant PSI2017-84145-P) and the University of the Basque Country (under grant IT-666-13, grant US13/11).

Author information

JP, NB, and AA conceived and designed the study, conducted data analysis, and participated in the writing and editing of the different versions of the manuscript. ST participated in designing, participant recruitment, intervention delivery, and revising and editing the final manuscript. MH was responsible for conducting the mindfulness intervention. WVG contributed to the writing and final editing of the manuscript.

Correspondence to Alberto Amutio.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Pizarro, J.J., Basabe, N., Amutio, A. et al. The Mediating Role of Shared Flow and Perceived Emotional Synchrony on Compassion for Others in a Mindful-Dancing Program. Mindfulness 11, 125–139 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01200-z

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Keywords

  • Mindful dancing
  • Second-generation mindfulness-based interventions
  • Compassion
  • Shared flow
  • Perceived emotional synchrony
  • Well-being