Mindfulness has been practiced in the Eastern world for over twenty-five centuries but has only recently become popular in the West. Today, interventions such as “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy” are used within the Western health setting and have proven to be successful techniques for reducing psychological distress. However, a limitation of such interventions is that they tend to apply the practices of mindfulness in an “out of context” manner. To overcome this, a newly formed Meditation Awareness Training (MAT) program focusses on the establishment of solid meditative foundations and integrates various support practices that are traditionally assumed to effectuate a more sustainable quality of well-being. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of MAT for improving psychological well-being in a sub-clinical sample of higher education students with issues of stress, anxiety, and low mood. Utilizing a controlled design, participants of the study (n = 14) undertook an 8-week MAT program and comparisons were made with a control group (n = 11) on measures of self-assessed psychological well-being (emotional distress, positive affect, and negative affect) and dispositional mindfulness. Participants who received MAT showed significant improvements in psychological well-being and dispositional mindfulness over controls. MAT may increase emotion regulation ability in higher education students with issues of stress, anxiety, and low mood. Individuals receiving training in mindfulness meditation may benefit by engendering a broader, more ethically informed, and compassionate intention for their mindfulness practice.
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The authors would like to thank James Houston for his helpful feedback on previous versions of this article as well Lauren Horgan for her assistance with participant recruitment and data collection.
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Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E., Sumich, A. et al. Meditation Awareness Training (MAT) for Psychological Well-Being in a Sub-Clinical Sample of University Students: A Controlled Pilot Study. Mindfulness 5, 381–391 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-012-0191-5
- Meditation awareness training