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State Mindfulness During Meditation Predicts Enhanced Cognitive Reappraisal

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Abstract

Putatively, mindfulness meditation involves the generation of a state of “nonappraisal,” yet, little is known about how mindfulness may influence appraisal processes. We investigated whether the state and practice of mindfulness could enhance cognitive reappraisal. Participants (N = 44; M age = 24.44, SD = 4.00, range 19–38, 82.2 % female) were randomized to either (1) mindfulness, (2) suppression, or (3) mind wandering induction training conditions. Cognitive reappraisal was assessed with the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) prior to experimental induction, and state mindfulness was assessed immediately following induction using the Toronto Mindfulness Scale. Participants practiced their assigned strategy for 1 week and then were reassessed with the ERQ reappraisal subscale. Participants receiving mindfulness training reported significantly higher levels of state mindfulness than participants in the thought suppression and mind wandering conditions. Although brief mindfulness training did not lead to significantly greater increases in reappraisal than the other two conditions, state mindfulness during mindfulness meditation was prospectively associated with increases in reappraisal. Path analysis revealed that the indirect effect between mindfulness training and reappraisal was significant through state mindfulness. Degree of state mindfulness achieved during the act of mindfulness meditation significantly predicted increases in reappraisal over time, suggesting that mindfulness may promote emotion regulation by enhancing cognitive reappraisal.

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Acknowledgments

E.L.G. was supported grants R03DA032517 and R34DA037005 from the National Institutes of Health in preparing this manuscript. The conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the NIH.

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Correspondence to Eric L. Garland.

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Garland, E.L., Hanley, A., Farb, N.A. et al. State Mindfulness During Meditation Predicts Enhanced Cognitive Reappraisal. Mindfulness 6, 234–242 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0250-6

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