Is Mindfulness Meditation Associated with “Feeling Less?”

Abstract

Following previous research which has suggested that mindfulness meditators are less affected by emotional stimuli, the current study examined the hypothesis that mindfulness meditation is associated with decreased emotional engagement, by inducing moods and asking participants to generate as many autobiographical memories opposite in valence as possible. Experienced mindfulness meditators took twice as long as non-meditators to generate the first opposite mood memory yet generated the same total number of memories as non-meditators. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, results indicate that mindfulness may be associated with increased emotional engagement, increased contact with emotions, and rapid recovery from the emotional experience. The effect of mindfulness on implicit and explicit aspects of emotion is discussed, as well as potential implications for treatment of related disorders.

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Acknowledgments

This work was partly supported by a research grant to the second author from the Israel Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Jonathan Greenberg.

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Greenberg, J., Meiran, N. Is Mindfulness Meditation Associated with “Feeling Less?”. Mindfulness 5, 471–476 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0201-2

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotional engagement
  • Mood incongruent retrieval